By Anna Chibamu
FORMER Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo (70) was Monday arrested over criminal abuse of office and fraud charges.
He is detained at Rhodesville Police Station in Harare.
A state outline seen by newzimbabwe.com state the former cabinet minister is facing five counts of criminal abuse of office charges.
It is alleged he grabbed land illegally in Harare’s Philadelphia, Order, Carrie Craigh, Stornridge Farm, Haydon and Kia Ora Farm in Zvimba using his influence as a government official.
Chombo also faces one count of fraud after he duped desperate land seekers of unspecified amount of money which was deposited into his Agribank personal account.
He denied all charges being levelled against him.
“I deny the charges in their entirety. I believe that these charges have been extracted from the report of the Land Commission headed by Justice (Tendai) Uchena. I responded extensively, in writing, to these allegations when I appeared before the aforesaid Commission,” Chombo said in response to the charges.
“I stand by that response. In respect of count 1 my Agribank account no. is 4000086055. This is the only Agribank account. I received no money from any alleged land seekers. Count 2 to 3 there are no registered stands in my name as alleged nor was I given any.
“An investigation at Deeds Registry will prove this in regards to the alleged stands in Philadelphia or Haydon Farm. Count 4, I deny the same, a check at Companies Registry will show that I am neither a director nor shareholder in the three companies. In respect of count 5 please refer to the statement submitted.
“In respect of count 6, I absolutely had no dealings in the matter with Pinnacle Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. There is absolutely no basis for these allegations. 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 responded.
His lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, however, confessed ignorance over the arrest.
“We were called to assist the police with investigations. He has not been arrested,” said Madhuku.