Former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo was on Wednesday counting his lucky stars after the State withdrew charges of him misappropriating a $14 billion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe capital expenditure loan, which was meant for purchasing farm equipment but allegedly saw him divert the money to personal use including the purchase of two Toyota Hilux Vigo vehicles, one of which was alleged to have been given to socialite Pokello Nare.
It was further alleged that between September 2, 2006 to March 25, 2008, Chombo corruptly acquired a property, Subdivision 61 Helensvale from the City of Harare.
Knowing that the council had applied for change of use from a public place to space for cluster houses, Chombo is alleged to have registered the property under Harvest-Net Enterprises (Private) Limited, a company he owned, thereby showing favour to the company and disfavour to City of Harare.
These charges were withdrawn before plea when he appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje on Wednesday.
Bizarrely, Kennedy Madekutsikwa from the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) said they had no evidence, a stunning admission that will do little to convince sceptical Zimbabweans who believe there is a “Catch and Release” policy when it comes to political big fish.
This means that Chombo now only has two criminal charges before the courts following his arrest in 2017 immediately after the military coup that toppled the late President Robert Mugabe.