HARARE, Former Zimbabwean finance minister Dr Ignatius Chombo, who is facings charges of fraud and criminal abuse of office, was on Monday denied bail and remanded to Dec 8 for trial.

Chombo is accused of having fraudulently acquired a 14 billion Zimbabwean dollars loan from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) under a crops and livestock support facility in 2006.

He was for a decade the minister in charge of local authorities and is accused of having used the funds to purchase two Toyota Hilux Vigo motor vehicles. Chombo is also accused of having used his influence as local government minister

in 2006, to allocate himself a Helensvalle property valued at 2.7 million dollars.

Additionally, he is also accused of having forged documents which he used to transfer a Glen Lorne property valued at 900,000 dollars to one Alois Chimeri.

In denying bail, Magistrate Elisha Singano said Chombo was likely to abscond trial if released in view of the seriousness of the charges he was facing. He said the accused was also likely to interfere with witnesses given that he still enjoyed considerable power and connections although he was no longer a government Minister.

He has the means, the connections to flee from the jurisdiction of the court and then not stand trial, he said.

The Magistrate said keeping Chombo in custody was also for his own safety given that on Saturday some angry citizens gathered outside court on his initial appearance baying for his blood. The mob wanted to mete instant justice on the accused person, what we are talking about here is the safety of the accused is at risk. It (his safety) might be jeopardised by his release.

Chombo's lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, had proposed that his client pay 2,000 USD bail, surrender his passport and title deeds to his house and report to his nearest police station thrice a day every day among other conditions.

Chombo was among government officials who were targeted by the military when it intervened in government affairs to purge criminals surrounding former President Robert Mugabe.

Meanwhile, the former secretary for the youth wing of Zimbabwe's ruling party, the Zanu PF Youth League, Kudzanai Chipanga, also had his bail application denied by Magistrate Josephine Sande who cited his personal security as the chief reason for denying bail.

Chipanga, who is accused of publishing falsehoods, was remanded in custody to Dec 8 for trial.


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