Chombo faces arrest

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Local government minister Ignatius Chombo is facing arrest over an array of alleged corrupt activities amid reports the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is winding graft investigations against the Zanu PF politburo member.

Informed sources close to the investigations told NewsDay that Chombo’s fate now lies in the hands of President Robert Mugabe, who is expected to either give the nod or object to his arrest.

Some of the allegations emanate from a report by a Harare City Council ad-hoc land audit committee produced two years ago in which Chombo was fingered as having illegally acquired large swathes of land in Harare.

Cabinet members and senior government officials can only be arrested with Mugabe’s consent.

Government sources privy to the matter last week said the ACC was winding up investigations on Chombo with a view to prosecuting him.

They said the Prime Minister’s Office had already been approached over the matter and the same moves had been initiated with the President’s Office.

“It’s only a matter of time before they arrest him. We are told action is being taken on the issue and it’s a matter of days now,” said a senior government official.
The issue comes hardly two weeks after the arrest of several MPs who allegedly abused Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations.

But an ACC official yesterday dismissed the claims.
“There is nothing like that, I am just hearing it from you. We are not investigating him at all,” said the official who declined to be identified.

On Monday, former Harare councillors Warship Dumba and Casper Takura, who were part of the ad-hoc land investigations committee which produced the damning dossier against Chombo, wrote to the ACC making a formal report against the Zanu PF minister. The letter, a copy of which is in the possession of NewsDay, is dated March 5, 2012.
Part of the letter reads:

“As complainants in this case, we will produce the land audit (54-page) report, the report of findings on the activities of the illegal commission headed by Michael Mahachi, findings on the sale of Stand ‘K’ Nthaba of Glen Lorne by Minister Chombo to a (Mr) Chimeri
. . . letter from the minister advising the councillors to appear before a panel of investigators, letters of suspension and dismissal written by Chombo, council resolution absolving the complainants of any wrongdoing and notice of refusal to put the councillors on remand by the Magistrates’ Court.”

Dumba and Takura claim they were fired from council by Chombo to silence them as they were at the forefront of investigating him.

Dumba was chairman of the eight-member committee that probed Chombo and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.

The committee made a formal report to the police, but efforts to get Chombo arrested hit a brick wall and the City Fathers accused the police of siding with the minister.

Tables were immediately turned and the councillors were arrested for criminally defaming Chombo and Chiyangwa and for allegedly defrauding council of $600.The two were later cleared by the court, but Chombo ordered they remained dismissed from Town House.

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