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Former Zimbabwe Minister Faces Corruption Charges

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to uproot corruption.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to uproot corruption.

By VOA Correspondent

A former Zimbabwean minister who served under the country’s ousted leader of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, has been arraigned in court on charges of abusing his powers when he was in office.

Former Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa appeared before a Harare magistrate Thursday facing charges of abuse of office.

Magistrate Josephine Sande freed the ex-minister, who also is a nephew of former President Robert Mugabe.

Chidhakwa’s defense attorney, Sylvester Hashiti, says his client was freed on bail and ordered to surrender his passport. He is accused of breaching the country’s minerals law during his term of office.

Chidhakwa becomes the second minister brought before the courts since Mugabe’s ouster last month. Former finance minister Ignatius Chombo also has been arraigned on corruption charges.

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, says his administration will leave no stone unturned in its quest to end corruption.

However, Obert Gutu, a spokesman of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, says Zimbabwe’s new administration applies the law selectively.

Independent political analyst, Mike Tembo, says Mnangagwa is acting on the orders of the army, which acted to oust Mugabe and bring Mnangagwa to office.

It is not yet clear how many people from Mugabe’s administration are under investigation for financial crimes.