Senior Court Reporter
THE State was on Monday told to take seriously proceedings into the matter in which former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo is accused of corruptly parcelling out State land and duping home-seekers through his cooperative.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje said the State was supposed to respond to Chombo’s application challenging his placement on remand on the six counts of corruption-related charges.
“The accused made an application on April 15 and the State has not responded.
“The State should respond before end of day today (yesterday) and should take the proceedings seriously,” said Mr Mambanje.
Prosecuting, Mrs Netsai Mushayabasa undertook to respond to the application before Chombo returns to court on Friday.
In his application prepared by his lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo said the State had failed to name the people whom he allegedly duped and the amounts they lost.
Chombo claims the State should, at least by now, have established the amount of prejudice suffered considering that the offences were allegedly committed several years ago.
“To begin with, the complainants have not been named, the amounts have not been stated and given that the alleged offence occurred over a period of 15 years, it is strange how the State does not have an amount,” he said.
Chombo said the bank account said by the State to be the one used by home-seekers depositing money when buying stands from him, was not registered in his name and was not the one who opened the account.
He said the cooperative he is alleged to have used to defraud people was not registered and this was confirmed from the Registrar of Cooperatives.
In his application, Chombo also denied that he allocated 125 commonage stands to himself saying there was no title deeds registered in his name to prove the State’s allegations.
“The State has not so much as even bothered to mention a stand number of any stand allocated to myself, by myself let alone 125.
“There is only mention that residential stands 304, 318, 319, 320 and 322 of Plot 12 Philadelphia Farm are mine. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.
Chombo also denied owning the companies that the State alleges were allocated stands by him on Carrick Creagh Farm saying he was not a director or shareholder of any company.
“The first company Comverol Enterprises (Pvt) Limited, I am neither a director nor shareholder. How can these companies be deemed mine when I am neither a shareholder nor director? Cayford (Pvt) Limited does not exist.
“How can I be an owner of a company that does not exist,” he said.
Chombo distanced himself from Cavford (Pvt) Limited, which the State alleges he allocated a stand .
He also denied handing over Order Farm to Sensene Investments saying there is a Constitutional Court judgment that dealt with the matter.
Any decision that was made regarding the farm in question was as a result of a court order, Chombo said.
Chombo also denied instructing officials to sign a deed of settlement with Phillip Chiyangwa’s Pinnacle Holdings saying there was a Supreme Court order which narrated how the signing was made.
The State is expected to file its response on April 28, with Prof Madhuku making his oral submissions on May 10.