Zimbabwe court denies bail to former finance minister

Zimbabwe’s former finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who is currently facing corruption trial dating back to his time as minister, 10 years ago, was denied bail.

“The court is of the view that indeed there are compelling reasons to deny the accused person his right to bail,” magistrate Elisha Singano said on Monday.

“I concur with the state that if the accused is released at this time there will be a public outcry.”

He also said the risk of Chombo fleeing was high .

The former finance minister made his first appearance in public on Saturday since his arrest by the Army two weeks ago to attend the first hearing of his corruption trial.

Chombo seemed unharmed and calm despite the fact that his lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, has accused the military of torturing his client to the point of ending up hospitalized on Friday.

The lawyer took the opportunity to point out that the accusations against Chombo date back to his time as local minister, a decade ago. The defendant was part of the former clique of former President Robert Mugabe, known as G40.

Members of this group, such as Chombo or Mugabe’s wife were expelled from the ranks of the government party, the African National Union of Zimbabwe – Patriotic Front, as well as the former president himself last week in the framework of the open transition in the country after 37 years of Mugabe in power.

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