HARARE – Former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo has been arrested on charges emanating from his tenure as Minister of Local Government from year 2000 to 2015 including accusations of facilitating the grabbing of residential stands by the former First Lady Grace Mugabe who gave some of these stands to close family members and other relatives.
Chombo faces several counts of fraud and criminal abuse of office. He denies the charges.
The charges have been extracted from the report of the Land Commission headed by Justice Uchena.
“I responded extensively, in writing, to these allegations when I appeared before the aforesaid Commission. I attach herewith a copy of that written response as part or my response herein. I stand by that response…I committed no fraud or criminal abuse of office and at all times I executed my duties as a Government Minister in full Compliance with the law,” Chombo said in his warned and cautioned statement on Monday.
On Count One (Fraud), allegations are that Chombo on a date unknown but sometime during the period extending from year 2000 to 2015, abused his position as Minister of Local Government and illegally caused desperate land seekers to deposit into his personal account, various amounts of money for Land development.
He is said not to have remitted the funds for development purposes. Chombo also misrepresented to would be beneficiaries that if they contribute the money into his personal account he would allocate stands to them at Kia Ora farm, Zvimba Rural District but after the money was deposited he did not allocate the stands.
He did not allocate the stands.
On Count Two (Criminal abuse of office), allegations are that, the accused on a date unknown but sometime during the period extending from year 2000 to 2015, Chombo who by then was the Minister of Local Government , using his influence illegally grabbed 125 commonage stands at Haydon Farm.
Regarding, count three (criminal abuse of office), allegations are that, the accused on a date unknown but sometime in period extending from year 2000 to 2015, the accused claimed and allocated himself five low density residential stands at Philadelphia Farm Harare. He allocated three of these stands to his cronies.
On Count Four (Criminal abuse of office), allegations are that, the accused on a date unknown but sometime during the period extending from year 2000 to 2015, Chombo unlawfully took several stands in Carrick Creagh Farm in Harare District and registered them in the names of his companies without paying for them well aware that the farm had not been handed over to Ministry of Local Government.
Some of the stands had been allocated to beneficiaries whom Chombo pushed out. He facilitated grabbing of stands by the former First Lady Grace Mugabe who gave some of these stands to close family members and other relatives.
She also took transfer of these stands without paying or fully paying for them.
Chombo faces a fifth count of Criminal abuse of office, in that he is said to have unlawfully handed over acquired state land at Order Farm Harare.
He is also said to have abused his office by instructing officials of the Ministry of Local Government to unlawfully sign a Deed of Settlement .
Chombo is being represented by his lawyers Lovemore Madhuku, Munya Bwanya and Tungamirai Muganiri. – Zim Monring Post