Chombo must account for riches – MDC-T

HARARE – MDC-T has demanded that Robert Mugabe's Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to account for his vast wealth which includes dozens of residential and commercial properties spread across the country or face dismissal from government.

Chombo’s extensive property portfolio was exposed in his ongoing divorce dispute with estranged wife Marian which is now before the High Court.

Marian is demanding a US$2000 monthly stipend and an equal share of the couple’s several houses, residential and commercial stands – all spread throughout the country – scores of top of the range vehicles and commercial trucks, farms, some ten companies, mines and safari lodges.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangira’s MDC-T party called on Chombo to explain how he acquired his vast riches on a cabinet minister’s salary failing which the Zanu PF politburo member should “leave public office”.

“It is without doubt that Chombo, a former teacher, neither inherited the wealth nor ever owned a business empire to justify personal ownership of such a sickening amount of wealth.

“Before his appointment to government, slightly more than a decade ago, Chombo’s claim to property was a smallholding in the former African purchase area of Chitomborwizi near Chinhoyi,” the MDC-T said in a statement issued Friday.

The party said cabinet ministers’ salaries were a public record and claimed there was “no way a single, honest person in high office could have managed to acquire such treasure, other than through abuse of office”.

The MDC-T claimed that Chombo’s reported riches were merely “the tip of the iceberg amid reports that “other senior Zanu PF officials literally (owned) whole towns, like Rusape and Victoria Falls”.

The statement added that the revelations about Chombo’s wealth made nonsense of claims by Zanu PF that sanctions imposed by western countries were responsible for the country’s economic collapse over the last decade.

“It is now clear from the latest case that the collapse of Zimbabwe was authored and promoted by Zanu PF through unbridled asset-stripping, corruption, violence and dictatorship, as evidenced by the revelations emanating from the domestic tiff between Chombo and his ex-wife, Marian, which is now spilling out into the public domain,” the statement read.

The party called for a “comprehensive inquiry” into the private interests of all senior Zanu PF leaders and senior public officials “to ascertain the impact of the looting that has taken place in Zimbabwe during the past 30 years”.

“Only through a judicial commission of inquiry can Zimbabweans, in the public interest, be able to know fully the plunderers of their national heritage and finite resources,” the statement added.