Former Minister Chombo Cleared As State Withdraws All Corruption Charges
Former cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo has been cleared of all remaining criminal charges, as the prosecution withdrew two allegations against him. Chombo had been facing court proceedings without trial for the past five years, resulting in other charges being dismissed due to lack of evidence.
His initial arrest in 2017 was part of a crackdown on individuals associated with former President Robert Mugabe. The recent charges, which accused Chombo of showing favouritism to Alois Chiimba during his tenure as Local Government Minister, were found to lack supporting evidence by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). The allegations included the manufacturing of fraudulent documents for the acquisition of a property and the subsequent fraudulent transfer to Chimimba.
Earlier this year, charges relating to the misappropriation of a US$14 billion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe capital expenditure loan were also withdrawn due to insufficient evidence. Kennedy Madekutsikwa from the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) confirmed the lack of evidence against Chombo.
There are concerns regarding the practice of “catch and release” of individuals perceived to be involved in corruption. This approach has led some to question the government’s commitment to effectively combating corruption. Authorities defend their actions by stating that they cannot detain individuals without sufficient evidence. Supporters argue that it is more prudent to conduct thorough investigations before making arrests, as baseless arrests would violate the rights of individuals and waste taxpayers’ money.
Since President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumed power in 2017, numerous prominent politicians have been arrested on corruption charges, but convictions have been few and far between. Some analysts suggest that the arrests may be politically motivated, targeting Mnangagwa’s opponents, while others believe they are merely a façade to create the impression of action against corruption. Notable figures arrested include Prisca Mupfumira, Obadiah Moyo, and Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
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