Court denies bail to detained former Zimbabwe finance minister

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Choombo will remain in detention until his case is heard on December 8, after a court denied him bail on Monday.

Chombo – a close ally of president Robert Mugabe who resigned last week – is charged with three counts of corruption in offences that allegedly took place two decades ago.

Mugabe’s 37-year reign came to an end last week following a military take-over.

The 93-year-old had sacked his vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 6, a move that irked top officials in the army. Local media reported that Grace Mugabe was set to be appointed into the position in a plot to put her at an advantaged point to succeed her husband.

After the takeover, the military refuted claims that it was conducting a coup. It said that the move was targeting “criminals” around Mugabe’s government.

Chombo, who faces charges including trying to defraud the central bank, was detained after the military’s “Operation Restore Legacy.”

His lawyer however said he would appeal the ruling to deny him bail on Tuesday.

“We are hopeful that the High Court will show independence,” lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said.

Reuters reports the magistrate who detained Chombo to have said the former minister could abscond, influence state witnesses or be the target of a mob attack over the allegations that he abused his position.

Chombo, who was appointed finance minister in October, was among members of the G40 political faction allied to Mugabe and his wife, Grace, who were also expelled from the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Two ousted ZANU-PF Youth League leaders, Kudzanai Chipanga and Innocent Hamandishe, who were both allied to G-40, were also ordered to be detained until Dec. 8.