ALLEGATIONS of corruption against Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo were investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission and forwarded to the police but no action was taken, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
By Elias Mambo
Sources at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) this week said three cases involving Chombo were reported to the police for further investigation but nothing materialised and no one was approached for questioning.
According to a document seen by the Independent, Chombo was reported to senior assistant commissioner Simon Nyathi at police headquarters for alleged corruption in the acquisition of stand number 61 in Hellensvale and stand number 263 in Avondale. The case reference number is IR040725.
Another case (ref number ER 09/2011) in connection with the alleged “sale of land without ownership”was reported to senior assistant commissioner Samson Mangoma at Ahmed House, but was also never investigated.
In the third case, Chombo is accused of instructing the payment of US$42 000 to an unnamed colleague using council funds.
In a recent interview, ACC chairperson Denford Chirindo said it is not the commission’s mode of operation to divulge their targets for investigations.
“It is inconsistent with the way we operate so such a document cannot be a commission one because as a matter of procedure we do not disclose our targets for investigations,” Chirindo said. “It is also important to note that when a report is made it comes as an allegation which needs to be proved through thorough investigation.”
Chirindo also said his organisation’s investigations are done with integrity in order to protect the privacy of the investigated people.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said the police were not investigating any case to do with Chombo.
“I have checked with the purported investigation officers, and no one is investigating such cases. Please advise your sources to give you the correct information so that you can check with relevant stations,” Charamba said.
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, Chombo promised he would meet this reporter yesterday morning at his office to respond to questions. Upon arrival at his offices, Chombo’s secretary said he was not scheduled to come to the office because he was at Pandhari Lodge. Attempts to contact him were in vain as his mobile phone went unanswered and text messages were not responded to.
Sources also said this was not the first time that Chombo has been reported without being investigated. In 2006 after the arrest of then Zupco board chairperson, Charles Nherera, Chombo was implicated in the corruption case. Nherera was charged with allegedly soliciting for a bribe from tycoon Jayesh Shah, who operated Gift Investments, so that his company would be awarded a tender to supply the Mazda Swaraj buses to Zupco.
Nherera was jailed for two years for corruption, only for the conviction to be quashed after a successful appeal with the High Court. Zanu PF sources said then the target of the crackdown was Chombo who had authorised Zupco to buy the buses without going to tender.
Chombo is also accused of appointing people close to him in boards he has influence over. The current Zupco board chairperson and University of Zimbabwe pro-vice chancellor, Chipo Dyanda, is said to be close to Chombo and has been a chairperson for the past 15 years.
“His sister, a Mrs Kaziboni, has also been appointed a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe as well as being a Zupco board member,” said a close source.
Last week sources told this paper Chombo is reportedly under investigation by the President’s Office over all allegations of corruption in which he has been implicated.
This is said to have been finally triggered by Chombo’s reversal of Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi’s suspension, and scrutiny following his messy divorce with his wife Marian which laid bare his vast wealth for a public official. In the divorce papers, Marian claimed she and Chombo owned businesses, farms, homes and residential stands in Harare’s leafy suburbs of Mt Pleasant, Alexandra Park, Greendale, Borrowdale and other towns around the country, luxury cars and vast tracts of land, among other assets.