By Simplicius Chirinda
Harare, September 5, 2013 – A case in which former Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo stands accused of corruptly acquiring and selling council land in Harare is refusing to die a natural death.
The case which had resulted in the arrests of several council officials and journalists has resurfaced again.
This time around in court where a commissioner of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, (ZACC) Emmanuel Chimwanda is on trial for seeking to investigate the matter implicating Chombo.
Chimwanda faces five charges all related to breaching the Official Secrets Act in his investigations of corruption involving high profile individuals among them Chombo.
ZACC chairperson Denford Chirindo was on Tuesday brought to Harare Magistrates Court as a witness in the case and led evidence during the trial before Harare Regional Magistrate Hosea Mujaya.
Chirindo told the court that Chimwanda had a right to investigate any suspected cases of corruption and receive information from anyone as long as it can help with the investigations. He however suggested that Chimwanda should have dealt with his cases through the established channels of the ZACC because dealing with anyone outside the employee of the commission might have constituted a breach of the Official Secrets Act.
But Chimwanda’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange strongly objected to the assertion and challenged Chirindo to prove how Chimwanda breached the Official Secrets Act arguing that he was simply doing his constitutionally mandated duty to fight corruption in Zimbabwe.
Describing Chimwanda as “Mr Clean” Samkange asked Chirindo to read out a document that led to the arrest of Chimwanda and four officials from outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office.
Chirindo and the state prosecution initially vehemently objected to the request for the state witness to read out the document in court.
But the ZACC boss reluctantly read it out after he was ordered to do so by the Magistrate Mujaya.
In doing so, Chirindo read a factsheet of the allegations of corruption leveled against Chombo. Asked by the defence if his commission was still investigating Chombo, Chirindo responded saying, “We are still working on the matter.”
With this response the feverish Chirindo firmly brought back Chombo’s high profile corruption case back into the limelight. The trial continues on Thursday next week.