HARARE – Former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo’s bail conditions have been further relaxed to allow him to seek medical attention in South Africa.
Chombo, who is facing a slew of corruption charges with the State alleging he prejudiced it of more than $3,6 million, was represented by Lovemore Madhuku when he appeared before Harare magistrate Elisha Singano on Thursday.
Madhuku successfully applied to have Chombo’s passport released to May 9, while he attends to his health in South Africa.
Although the State had opposed the application arguing the passport was an assurance that Chombo would not flee the court’s jurisdiction, Singano ruled that he had been religiously abiding by his bail conditions and granted the request.
Chombo’s reporting conditions were relaxed by the same court to once a day in January this year after the former minister had pleaded that he needed time to do farming and fend for his livelihood.
Chombo is being charged with criminal abuse of office, contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act and fraud with the State saying his alleged activities prejudiced it of $3, 6 million.
In one of the cases it is being alleged that on October 1, 2005 Chombo hatched a plan to defraud the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) under “Other Crops and Livestock Support Facility” provided by the central bank.
It was alleged that Chombo would apply for capital expenditure loans purportedly for agriculture equipment but splashed the money on his personal endeavours and bought various cars, one of which was delivered to his stepdaughter, socialite Pokello Nare.
Chombo applied for Capital Expenditure Loan amounting to ZW$14 billion which was to be paid within 18 months and indicated his address as Allen Grange Farm, Rafingora, it was alleged.
Under Section 4 of the RBZ “Other Crops and Livestock Support Facility Application Form” Chombo was alleged to have misrepresented that he was going to use the proposed funds for the purchase of various agricultural equipment.
The equipment included 30-tonne lorry valued at ZW$2 billion, 30-tonne truck valued at ZW$1,5 billion, 200 hp tractor four-wheel drive valued at ZW$2,5 billion, combine harvester valued at ZW$5 billion, 52 dish roam disc valued at ZW$1 billion, nine row monosem planter valued at ZW$1,2 billion , 2x500kg chicken feed mixer valued at ZW$ 8 million.
The court also heard that Chombo abused funds and it was investigated and established that he had imported various motor vehicles, including a Toyota Hilux Vigo for socialite Pokello which was delivered at 222 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare.
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