Mugabe minister appears in court, faces corruption charges

2017-11-25 17:00
President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

President Robert Mugabe. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP)

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Harare - Zimbabwe's finance minister has appeared in court to face corruption charges that some observers believe are politically motivated after the resignation of Robert Mugabe.

The lawyer for Ignatious Chombo says he was illegally detained for more than 48 hours without being brought to court during the military takeover that led to Mugabe's resignation.

Lovemore Madhuku says Chombo wants to testify in front of cameras about "sensitive matters" related to his arrest.

The lawyer has said that Chombo, who was linked to a ruling party faction around Mugabe's unpopular wife, was mistreated in detention.

State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba has listed multiple allegations that Chombo engaged in fraud on real estate and vehicle transactions more than a decade ago.

'Constitutionally and lawful'

A Zimbabwean High Court judge has ruled that the military action leading to Mugabe's resignation was legal.

High Court Judge George Chiweshe on Friday ruled that the military's actions "in intervening to stop the takeover" of Mugabe's constitutional functions "by those around him are constitutionally and lawful," said Chiweshe.

The military stepped in almost two weeks ago after Mugabe's firing of deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa amid fears that Mugabe's wife was positioning herself to take power.

Zimbabwe's military has sought to show its actions were not a coup.

The judge said the military's actions ensured that non-elected individuals do not exercise executive functions.

Separately, the judge said Mugabe's firing of Mnangagwa as vice president was illegal. Mnangagwa was sworn in as president on Friday in a whirlwind reversal of fortunes.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  ignatius chombo  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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