One year on: Chombo’s trial stalls, gets passport back

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Cabinet Minister Ignatius Chombo, who facing corruption charges was Friday given back his passport to allow him to travel to South Africa for a medical review.

The embattled former minister has been in and out of the country for medical visits following his arrest over graft related crimes in 2017.

His ailment has not been disclosed before the courts.

“The accused is also applying for the release of his passport as he intends to travel to South Africa for medical review.

“You will note that he has been constantly travelling for medical check-ups without disappointing the State,” said his lawyer Lovemore Madhuku before Harare magistrate Barbra Mateko granted the release.

Chombo’s case was also pushed to June 21 this year pending a Supreme Court’s determination on his application for stay of prosecution in which he argues his rights were infringed.

The former Zanu PF secretary for administration has another pending case in which he is jointly charged with the ruling party’s former youth league leaders, Kudzai Chipanga and Munyaradzi Hamandishe. The case has also been postponed to the same date.

The trio have been on remand for over a year now.

Chombo, a former influential Zanu PF politician, was the first cabinet minister to be arrested after the November 2017 military coup which toppled then President Robert Mugabe. He has four different criminal cases pending before the courts.

In another case, Chombo is being charged together with Local Government Ministry officials who include Lazarus Chimba, Rejoice Pazvakavambwa and Psychology Chiwanga.

He has since approached the upper court seeking stay of criminal prosecution, arguing that his rights were violated when he was illegally detained by soldiers during the coup.

His lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said “proceeding at this point would undermine the administration of justice.”