HARARE – Former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo has applied to the magistrates court to have his bail conditions relaxed to allow him to attend to his farm in Rafingora, Mashonaland West.
He made the application through his lawyers — Lovemore Madhuku and Tungamirai Muganhiri — before Harare magistrate, Josephine Sande, who reserved judgment on the matter until Monday.
In terms of the variation sought, Chombo wants to be allowed to report once a day at Marlborough Police Station, from Monday to Friday between 0800 hours and 1700 hours.
Currently, Chombo is reporting at the same station three times a day. In his application, he said he was now a full-time farmer.
“At the time of the original bail hearing, he (Chombo) had just vacated office as a Cabinet minister by operation of law. He was not re-appointed to Cabinet. He now has to depend on his farming on a full-time basis,” argued his lawyers in their application.
“His farm is in Rafingora. This is a drastic change of circumstances. The applicant has a constitutional right to keep his life intact and fend for his family”.
It was further argued that other persons who may qualify as Chombo’s co-accused were subsequently arrested and granted bail on less onerous conditions and that the State has not completed its investigations within the period it originally undertook and has not strengthened its case in any manner thereafter.
The State, represented by Edmore Nyazamba did not oppose the application.
Chombo was released on a $5 000 bail after spending days at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
The former Zanu PF secretary for administration is facing a slew of charges that could potentially earn him a combined 55 years in prison if convicted.
He is being charged with criminal abuse of office, contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and fraud with the State saying his alleged activities prejudiced it of $3, 6 million.
Chombo, 66, was seized by the military in the early hours of November 15 in an operation which led to former president Robert Mugabe being placed under house arrest and later led to his resignation.
He was released into the custody of the police on November 23 and was rushed to hospital for treatment on injuries he claimed were sustained during the time he was in military detention.