Zimbabwe’s ex-minister was ‘bashed’ in custody

Harare: Zimbabwe’s former finance minister facing corruption charges told a court here that masked men in military uniforms forced their way into his home and held him and his wife at gun point hours after the recent military takeover.

Ignatius Chombo said they handcuffed and blindfolded him in an early morning raid on November 15. He said he suffered injuries as he fell while being led by them to a car. They took him to an unknown place where he was told about his “bad” performance as minister.

Chombo‘s lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said his client was treated in a hospital for injuries sustained while in military detention.

Chombo said he had been beaten in custody after he was handed over to police for arrest. Police, however, denied this.

State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba said Chombo has been charged with three counts of corruption, including attempt to defraud the Zimbabwean central bank in 2004 and fraud related to real estate and vehicle transactions.

Chombo wondered why corruption charges dating back to decades are coming up after the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe. Some observers said the case is politically motivated.

On Monday, the court will decide whether Chombo should be granted bail.