Harare, Zimbabwe – Former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo will be detained until Monday, when a court will rule on a bail application on his corruption trial.
Chombo, an ally of former President Robert Mugabe, appeared on Saturday in a Harare court on corruption and abuse of power charges related to his earlier tenure as minister of local government, public works and urban development.
In Zimbabwe alone, he is believed to own more than 100 properties.
His lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, argued that the former minister was taken from his home by masked gunmen on November 15, the day Zimbabwe’s army seized control of the state and said it was “targeting criminals” around Mugabe, who was placed under house arrest.
Chobo had to be admitted to a government hospital for injuries allegedly sustained from beatings while in detention, according to Madhuku.
He was released on Thursday and taken into police custody on Friday.
The state prosecutors argued that Chombo’s arrest on Friday was lawful.
Madhuku argued that his client’s appearance to court 10 days after his alleged detention by state agents would be unconstitutional.
However, the state said that since the identity of Chombo’s abductors could not be confirmed, the argument could not be accepted.
Kudzanai Chipanga, head of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s youth league, also appeared in court on Saturday on separate charges of corruption and slander.
Chipanga, a close associate of former First Lady Grace Mugabe, was also taken detained in the early hours of November 15.
Days later, he appeared on state television to issue a public apology to the armed forces for criticising an earlier statement of theirs warning Mugabe that they would take matters into their own hands if the “purges” of ZANU-PF and government officials including, newly inaugurated President Emmerson Mnangagwa, did not stop.
Chipanga will also appear on Monday for a bail hearing.
Innocent Hamandishe, the youth wing’s deputy leader, also appeared on similar charges to Chipanga and was remanded in police custody to December 8.
Follow Tendai Marima on Twitter and Instagram @i_amten