Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, who is facing a slew of corruption charges, will know his fate today when the High Court makes a ruling on his appeal for bail.
This comes amid reports that Chombo’s co-accused, arrested on allegations of facilitating the transfer of council property worth over $900 000 into the former Finance Minister’s name, have been granted bail.
Deputy director of valuations and estate management in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Rejoice Pazvakavambwa (43) and the registrar of valuers, Lazarus Chimba (70), appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Josephine Sande on charges of violating Section 4(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16).
They were granted $300 bail last Friday and remanded to December 8. The pair was advised to report twice at Machipisa Police Station and not to interfere with State witnesses. In their bail application, the duo that was represented by Messrs Admire Rubaya and Joel Mambara convinced the court to grant them freedom.
Chombo has been in custody for the past two weeks. He was denied bail when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Elisha Singano on November 27. Through his lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo approached the High Court on appeal last week. However, the High Court on Thursday deferred the hearing to today to allow the prosecution to file its response.
Among the serious charges Chombo is facing are violating Section 4(a) of the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16) by allegedly conniving with Psychology Chiwanga, Rejoice Pazvakavambwa, Iben Fransisco, James Chiyangwa, Theresa Chenjerayi, Elias Choto and Lazarus Chimba to forge documents used to transfer a Glen Lorne, Harare, property from the Harare City Council (HCC) to one Alois Chimeri.
It is the State’s case that the duo acted in connivance with Chombo, Chiwanga, Francisco, Chiyangwa, Chenjerayi and Choto. Prosecuting, Mr Edmore Nyazamba alleged that on a date unknown to the State, Chimba wrote a memo dated June 13, 2008 to the City of Harare, indicating he had no objection to a double transfer of a property in Glen Lorne to Aloise Chimeri.
He also did not object to Chimeri being given title deeds to the said property, which had been illegally acquired and sold to him by Chombo. According to the State, Chimba also influenced Harare City Council to illegally get compensation for the said piece of land, which had been sold by Chombo. Pazvakavambwa, it is alleged, authored another document on June 25 the same year addressed to the City of Harare confirming the property had been sold to Chombo.
She further instructed Francisco to transfer the property into Chombo’s name, the court heard. It is further alleged by so doing, Chimba and Pazvakavambwa acted contrary to and inconsistently with their duties as public officers as their actions had the effect of showing favour to Chombo and Chimeri.