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Chombo denied passport again

by Staff reporter
03 Jul 2019 at 18:28hrs | Views
Former Cabinet minister Ignatius Chombo has failed in his appeal to get his passport returned to allow him to travel abroad to seek medical attention.

His passport was allegedly recently seized by a State security agent at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport as he was about to fly to South Africa for a medical review.

Harare magistrate Esthere Chivasa ruled that Chombo was a flight risk, giving weight to defence arguments that former senior government officials granted their passports on medical grounds had "abused" the process by absconding.

Chivasa said Chombo had failed to tender new documents about his cancer treatment to support his latest bid to have his passport released to allow him to travel to South Africa.

The magistrate said the ex-minister was trying to "legally buy time."

"It's not in dispute that the applicant was diagnosed with cancer. But firstly, the applicant is relying on a document which is dated February 2019, we're now in July and that on its own presents a challenge in that it's the document that was relied upon in the previous application," said Chivasa.

"Legally, there is no change in circumstances. The applicant seems to assume that the court should simply allow him to have his passport released because he has cancer," she added.

"The applicant has succeeded, legally that is, to make it impossible for the state to try him," Chivasa commented. "He's perfectly entitled to do so.

"The State placed before this court statistics that indulgence has been abused lately by former senior government officials facing serious allegations. In a short space of time, former government ministers have been granted indulgence and had their passport temporarily released to them and have abused it."

Lovemore Madhuku, Chombo's lawyer says he is returning to the High Court after a magistrate on Wednesday threw out the corruption-accused former finance minister's latest application for the release of his passport.

"We are seeking a review of the magistrates court's ruling by the High Court," Madhuku told ZimLive outside court.

The magistrate ordered Chombo's trial to get underway without further delay.

Source - zimlive