HomeNewsChombo escapes jail

Chombo escapes jail


HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo on Wednesday escaped a 90-day prison term for his alleged failure to pay a Mutare businessman, Tendai Blessing Mangwiro, his confiscated $1,5 million after High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe ruled in his favour, saying he had since complied with the court order.


Mangwiro’s cash was seized by the police in 2008 as an exhibit. The Supreme Court ruled in his favour, ordering the police to pay him back, but despite a plethora of court orders, the businessman has encountered resistance and is yet to recover his cash.

Chombo was last month forced to file an urgent chamber application seeking to stop his arrest on contempt of court charges.

This followed an application for his arrest by Mangwiro, who accused the minister of failing to comply with the court order to facilitate the release of his money.

But upon hearing the matter, Justice Hungwe ruled: “It is ordered that: The applicant (Chombo) has complied with his obligations as nominal defendant in terms of the State Liabilities Act (Chapter 8:14) in respect of the order of court handed down under case numbers HC 4766/13 and HC 4261/16.

“Where a minister directs that certain payment be made in compliance with a court order, it seems to me that he would have fulfilled his catalyst role in causing payment to be made. I do not see what else he should be expected to do as his actions will ultimately lead to the disbursement of the funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in accordance with the order of the court.”

In his submissions, Chombo told the court that he wrote a letter to the Finance ministry urging it to release the funds and, as such, he had played his part in complying with the court order.

Sometime last year, in his quest to seek justice, Mangwiro also applied for the striking-off of the State Liabilities Act from the statutes, arguing the government officials were hiding behind the Act to avoid complying with court orders.

High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore ruled in Mangwiro’s favour, saying the State Liabilities Act was unconstitutional and when Mangwiro took the matter to the Constitutional Court for confirmation, the latter sent it back to the High Court on a technicality.

Mangwiro then made efforts to seek Chombo’s arrest, but the minister successfully defended the action after thwarting the Sheriff’s efforts to have him incarcerated.

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