Harare – A Zimbabwean court on Thursday freed a Mugabe-era finance minister on bail ahead of his trial on corruption charges, laid following his arrest at the height of last month’s military takeover.
Ignatius Chombo, a close ally of former president Robert Mugabe who resigned on November 21, was the first Mugabe loyalist to be charged with a crime.
The Zimbabwe High Court freed him on $5 000-bail but ordered he report to police three times a day, surrender his passport and stay away from government offices and the central bank.
He had been in police custody for more than a fortnight.
Chombo was formerly secretary for administration in the ruling Zanu-PF party and was the last finance minister in Mugabe’s cabinet.
He now faces fraud charges dating from 2004-2009 when he held a different ministerial role.
Chombo was also seen as an ally of former first lady Grace Mugabe, whose aspirations to succeed her husband are widely blamed for the military intervention that culminated in the 93-year-old leader’s resignation.
Chombo previously told magistrates that armed men in uniform had detained and questioned him for days at an unknown location.