Former finance minister Ignatius Chombo was granted permission to appear in court wearing suits instead of prison garb, his lawyer has said.
By PHYLLIS MBANJE
Chombo spent two weeks behind bars after he was arrested for alleged abuse of office. He was granted $5 000 bail last week after several court appearances.
The former Zanu PF secretary for administration, who was in leg irons, was always immaculately dressed, raising debate about whether he was getting special treatment, but his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said there was nothing amiss about his client’s dressing.
“There is no law that compels one to come to court in prison uniform if they are on remand,” he said.
“People are just not aware that they can opt to wear their home clothes.
“Anyone can come to court with their usual clothes if they so wish.”
Madhuku said a suspect in remand prison was free to dress any way they wanted when attending court.
“He [Chombo] requested to put on his clothes and it was granted because it’s within the provisions of the law,” he said.
“People should really be aware of such things and be able to exercise their rights where permitted by law.”
Madhuku said the prison garb would only be worn within the prison confines for security reasons.
“It is a different case in the prison itself because of obvious security reasons and identification, the inmates should all be in uniform,” he added.
Chombo is facing a litany of charges, ranging from fraud and criminal abuse of office related to his earlier tenure as Local Government, Public Works and Urban Fevelopment.
Chombo will be back in court on Januay 8 next year when investigations are expected to have been finalised.
He was first seized by soldiers when the military took over the government on November 15 and he claimed in court that he was severely tortured while in detention.