By Mugove Tafirenyika
Parliament has set up a committee to investigate members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy who allegedly demanded $400 000 from a local businessman keen to mine coal in Hwange.
Temba Mliswa, who chairs the committee, stands accused of attempting to “squeeze” James Ross Goddard of JRG Contracting (Pvt) Ltd on November 15 last year at a time when efforts were underway to revive the coal mining concern.
Mliswa, who is an independent MP for Norton constituency, was allegedly working with MDC for MP Magwegwe, Anele Ndebele, his Binga North counterpart Prince Sibanda and Zanu PF’s Leonard Chikomba (MP Gokwe North).
Ruling on a motion of privilege by the chairperson of the Justice portfolio committee Misheck Mataranyika in Parliament yesterday, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the allegations had the potential to put the name of the House into disrepute hence the need for investigations.
Yesterday, Mudenda chaired the Committee of Standing Rules and Orders and constituted a Privileges Committee to investigate allegations against Mliswa and company.
In making the ruling, Mudenda said public administration in all tiers of government, including institutions and agencies of the State and government-controlled entities and other public enterprises, must be governed by the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution.
“Having listened to the report (by Mataranyika), it is clear the allegations have the potential to damage the name of Parliament, so I therefore rule that investigations be done to protect the image of Parliament, Mudenda said.
This comes as both Zanu PF and MDC chief whips in the National Assembly Pupurai Togarepi and Prosper Mutseyami also told the Daily News that they had commenced investigations to authenticate the story whereupon action will be taken accordingly.
“As a party, we have adopted zero tolerance to corruption since the coming in of the new dispensation so we have since called the said MP so that we get a full report of what transpired and if investigations prove that an offence was committed, the party disciplinary procedures will immediately kick in,” Togarepi said.
On his part, Mutseyami said his party does not condone corruption hence investigations to establish the truth of the matter had been initiated.
“We assume that they are innocent until proven guilty so as a party, we have already started to investigate. We really do not trust the source of the story so there is need for through investigations to get to the bottom of the matter. We will not act on the basis of press reports, especially the State media,” Mutseyami said.
Following Mudenda’s ruling, Mliswa immediately stepped down on his own volition from his position as committee chairperson. DailyNews