Chombo contradicts Madhuku torture lies




Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who was among those detained by the military when they seized power before Robert Mugabe resigned this week, arrives at court on to face corruption charges in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

EMBATTLED finance minister Ignatius Chombo appeared Saturday to contradict claims by his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku that treasury boss was beaten up after being abducted.

Chombo was remanded in custody by a Harare magistrate on charges of breaching the Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal abuse of office and fraud.

He was one of the senior officials picked up as the military took to the streets last week in an operation that led to the resignation former President Robert Mugabe.

A loyalist of the fallen leader, Chombo was then released to the police last Friday after which his lawyer Madhuku claimed that the minister was badly beaten up in detention.

Madhuku told Reuters news agency that Chombo was admitted to hospital with injuries sustained from beatings while in military custody.

“It was a very brutal and draconian way of dealing with opponents,” said Prof Madhuku, who is also leader of the opposition NCA party.

However, Chombo had no visible injuries and appeared calm, chatting with the police guarding him when the court took a break during Saturday’s hearing.

Narrating his ordeal, the minister did not indicate that he was beaten up as Madhuku claimed.

“Everything happened so quickly when they (abductors) picked me up from my house,” he explained.

“There was about eight men in army uniforms, they appeared to be in a hurry as some pushed me while the others pulled me out of the house.

“When they got into the house, their faces were covered. They ordered me, my wife and our housemaid to lie down.

“I was then hand cuffed before they pushed and pulled me out of the house and we went out through the sitting room window which they had smashed to gain entry.

“It was really wet (outside) as it was raining. I had no shoes and I fell three times before we reached the car which was parked about 100 meters from my gate.”

The minister continued; “I sustained some cuts from the handcuffs which sank deep into my wrists as well as lacerations on my right arm and shoulder.

“Every day (while in detention) was more or less the same; I was interviewed by a panel of five people who I didn’t see.

“During that time, they did not assault me. They would only ask what I wanted; not that they would provide me (with those things) but they would make effort.

“I was blindfolded and seated the entire time. When I needed something, they would uncover my face, stay behind me and give me a pen and paper to write down my requests.” – NewsZim