Chombo Free As State Drops All Six Charges

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has failed to find any evidence linking former minister Ignatius Chombo to the six criminal charges he was facing resulting in all his cases collapsing.

Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti Tuesday told a Harare Magistrate court the state had insufficient evidence against Chombo and will continue through of summons.

Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje immediately removed the former minister from remand, leaving him a free man.

Last month, Chombo was also acquitted in a case he was accused of unlawfully wearing Zanu PF party regalia.

He was left to answer to one count of fraud and five counts of criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly illegally parcelled out land to himself and former First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Allegations were that sometime between 2000 and 2015, Chombo illegally asked desperate land seekers to deposit money into his personal Agribank account, but he did not remit the funds for development purposes.

Chombo was accused of having misrepresented to the land seekers he would allocate them housing stands at Kia Ora Farm under the Zvimba Rural District Council (RDC) but failed to do so.

On another count, Chombo allegedly used his influence as Local Government minister and grabbed 125 residential stands at Haydon Farm under Zvimba Rural District Council. He also allocated himself five low-density residential stands at Philadelphia Farm in Harare. Three other stands were allocated to the former minister’s associates.

Chombo also grabbed several residential stands at Carrick Creagh Farm in Harare and registered them under his companies, Comverol Enterprises, and Cayford.

He allocated some stands to land seekers but later evicted them.

Chombo was also accused of handing over state land at Order Farm in Harare to a private company, Sensene Investments.

He allegedly ordered his subordinates in the Local Government Ministry to sign a deed of settlement in relation to Stoneridge Farm with Philip Chiyangwa’s Pinnacle Holdings without Cabinet approval.

Chombo, in his statement to the Land Commission, denied allocating the state land for his benefit at Haydon and Philadelphia farms.

On the issue of Philadelphia, Chombo said he did not get any stands there and did not give any stand to his personal assistant, Natsai Jaiwa, but she applied and was paying for it.

He was charged with corruptly selling a government property in Mutare to former Mutare South MP Fred Kanzama of Zanu PF.

In other cases, Chombo was jointly charged with the former director of valuations and estates management in the Local Government Ministry, Lazarus Chimba.