ZIMBABWE – THE marriage between Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo and his estranged wife Ms Marian Mhloyi was finally terminated on Friday after the High Court granted a divorce order with the consent of both parties.
Justice Ben Hlatshwayo granted the decree of divorce and ordered the distribution of matrimonial property as agreed by the parties.
Property shared was that which Minister Chombo had earlier offered. Ms Mhloyi had however, failed to prove the other properties she claimed Minister Chombo was hiding from her.
She was allocated the bulk of the confirmed matrimonial property. The property includes six haulage trucks and trailers, an AVM bus, an 18-tonne truck, a tanker, four cars and eight immovable properties.
Minister Chombo got flats at Eastview Gardens in Harare, an immovable property in Norton, a stand in Kariba, and all the properties at Allan Grange Farm in Raffingora. Justice Hlatshwayo said: “It is ordered that a decree of divorce be and is hereby granted . . . ”
The judge went on to read out the manner in which properties should be shared. He blasted Ms Mhloyi and her lawyers for making unsubstantiated allegations that Minister Chombo was related to Judge President George Chiweshe and that his decisions were biased.
Advocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Mr Wilson Manase of Manase and Manase law firm represented Minister Chombo while Ms Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai together with Adv Girach Firoz acted for Ms Mhloyi.
According to the divorce order,
Ms Mhloyi got:
l Six trucks and horses.
l Mercedes Benz, Nissan Hardbody truck, green Toyota Landcruiser, one AVM bus, three trailers, one tanker and an 18 tonne truck.
l Number 243 Acturus Road, Greendale, Harare.
l Four flats being block Clyst Road Chadcombe, Harare
l Lot Number 3 Remainder along Simon Mazorodze Road.
l Flat B320 Odzi Flats Eastview Gardens.
l Two Shawasha Hills stands.
l Number 7386-4th Way Glen View 7, Harare.
l Furniture at Allan Grange Farm, 45 Besset Crescent, Alex Park and at 243 Acturus Road, Greendale.
With effect from today (Saturday September 1 2012), Ms Mhloyi shall be entitled to the fruits and use of all the property allocated to her.
She was given nine months to stay at Allan Grange Farm as she finds alternative accommodation.
Minister Chombo was allocated:
l 1x 2-bedroom flats (Eastview Gardens) Harare.
l Stand Number 5841 Norton Township.
l Stand 809 Camphill, Mica Point Kariba
l All implements at Allan Grange Farm, Raffingora that were acquired through existing loans.
Minister Chombo shall be solely liable and responsible for the settlement of all loans and debts outstanding to flats, houses and farm equipment. After the judgment, Minister Chombo’s lawyer Mr Manase said his client was comfortable with the ruling and that failure by Ms Mhloyi and her lawyers to substantiate the vast other claimed properties exonerated his client from the alleged corruption.
“Over the past four years, my client has been demonised, maligned and politically assassinated as being corrupt. “Various lists of properties were published as belonging to him but it turned out that only the properties we had earlier offered for distribution were shared.
“Had there been any other outstanding properties, Ms Mhloyi could not have consented to a divorce order. “It leaves one in no doubt that Min Chombo is not corrupt as earlier alleged. He never abused his office to acquire the said properties,” said Mr Manase. The divorce case dragged for close to four years with the parties failing to agree on property sharing.
Minister Chombo presented a list of property that was confirmed to be matrimonial property, but Ms Mhloyi listed more property but failed to prove that it belonged to the minister. Minister Chombo once issued a statement denying ownership of the alleged vast properties.