Tuesday, 29 January 2019


THE High Court is tomorrow set to hear an application to permanently halt criminal proceedings against former Finance minister Augustine Chombo, charged on suspicion of corruption, including trying to defraud the central bank in 2004 and being a criminal nuisance. 

Chombo, a staunch ally of former president Robert Mugabe, has said in his application he was illegally detained after the military seized power in “Operation Restore Legacy”, and kept blindfolded for nine days after being arrested at his home on November 15 in 2017.

He claims he was assaulted  when he was held incommunicado in army detention.

The former minister — whose prosecution was temporarily shelved last year pending the hearing of the constitutional application for stay of proceedings — is arguing that his constitutional rights were infringed when he was detained illegally.

“I am making this constitutional application in terms of section 85 (1) (a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013, seeking a declaration by this honourable court in exercise of its jurisdiction in terms of Section 171 (1) (c) of the Constitution. As an appropriate relief in respect of the aforesaid infringements, I am seeking an order permanently staying my criminal prosecution,” he said in his application.

He gave a narration of the events that took place on the day he was arrested.
“At around 1am in the morning of the 15th of November 2017, I was awoken by loud noise. My wife woke up and wanted to establish what had happened. After some moments, a second explosion occurred. Immediately thereafter, I heard crackling sounds at the kitchen door area, and then footsteps in the roof area. 

“The door in the bedroom to where we were was knocked down. I saw men in military uniform. They came and told me to lie down and a gun was pointed to my head. The same was told to my wife and housemaid.

“During my interrogation while blindfolded, the person guarding me would come in and identify himself as my ‘mother’ and on another day as my ‘father’, they would then ask me how I was doing and how my stay was. This was particularly traumatic for me because both of my parents had passed away,” he said.

According to the papers, Chombo said he wanted the court to determine whether or not the State, during his arrest, did not violate his constitutional rights when he was allegedly abducted by its agents, blind-folded for nine days and subjected to torture and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment. Daily News


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