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'Housing co-ops remitted money into Chombo personal bank account'

SEVERAL housing co-operatives around the country reportedly deposited cash into former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo's personal bank account instead of remitting the money to the State, a Harare magistrate heard yesterday when the ex-minister appeared in court.

Chombo, represented by Lovemore Madhuku, Tungamirai Muganhiri and Munyaradzi Bwanya, is facing six counts of fraud and criminal abuse of office relating to illegal parcelling out of State land.

Regional magistrate Stanford Mambanje is expected to deliver bail ruling today.

Madhuku told the court that his client would challenge his placement on remand on his next court appearance.

He further said Chombo would challenge his unlawful detention and that he was already on remand on other related counts.

But the State, represented by Charles Muchemwa and Ephraim Zinyandu, opposed bail, saying Chombo committed a serious offence and must not be released since they feared he would interfere with State witnesses.

Investigations officer Maxwell Gudoricharima further told the court that Chombo opened a personal bank account into which co-operatives around the country deposited various amounts of money, instead of directing the money into government coffers.

"The arrest emanated from the Commission of Inquiry (into sale of State land) by Justice (Tendai) Uchena. The accused opened a bank account with the name Ignatius Chombo Housing Co-operatives, where several housing co-operatives remitted money for his personal use," Gudoricharima said.

The investigations officer said they were still investigating the matter as the Special Anti-Corruption Unit.

Allegations against Chombo are that between 2000 and 2015, he illegally caused desperate land seekers to deposit money into his Agribank bank account for land development purposes.

It is alleged Chombo misrepresented to beneficiaries that if they contributed the money, he would allocate them stands at several farms in and around Harare.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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