FORMER Finance minister Ignatius Chombo’s bail appeal failed to be heard yesterday after the Prosecutor-General’s (PG) Office indicated it had received a transcript of the magistrates’ court proceedings late and was, therefore unable to file a response on time.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The PG’s representative told High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore that Chombo’s defence team had delayed in providing the State with the requested transcribed court record, thereby delaying the filing of the State’s response. The matter was however rolled over to today.
Chombo and former Zanu PF youth leader Kudzanayi Chipanga, were arrested three weeks ago by the military in an operation meant to weed out criminals within the ruling party.
Chipanga is facing allegations of communicating falsehoods, a charge he has since denied saying he simply expressed his political opinion when he read the said statement which led to his arrest, while Chombo is facing a plethora of charges, among them fraud, criminal abuse of office and corruption.
Both Chombo and Chipanga are being represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku.
In his bail statement, Chipanga said he does not deny reading the criminalised statement, but that when he read it, he was simply expressing his political opinion and that the very statement was not covered by any sections of the law.
Chipanga said firstly, the statement was not covered by the sections of the code cited and could not be false, it having been an expression of a political opinion.
“The charge is invalid. Secondly, and to the extent to which the charge maybe valid, he will challenge the constitutionality of the provisions in question,” Chipanga’s lawyer said.
Madhuku further said Chipanga’s continued incarceration and the charges levelled against him were an infringement of section 61 and 67 of the Constitution, adding the matter would soon be referred to the Constitutional Court.
Chombo said he was pleading with the court to grant him bail and vowed not to pursue politics but return to his teaching and farming professions.