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Biti submits to Parliament, a warrant of arrest against Guvamatanga

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro

A Public Accounts Committee chaired by MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti has submitted a Warrant of Arrest to the Clerk of Parliament to be issued against Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary George Guvamatanga for his systematic failure to attend the House of Assembly where he is expected to explain how the unbudgeted US$10,6 Billion was used by government last year.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance George Guvamatanga
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance George Guvamatanga

Last November, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government spent over US$10,6 billion in unbudgeted public funds, and unexpectedly approached Parliament to okay the unexplained expenditure, raising the ire of opposition members of Parliament.

The government has since published the Financial Adjustment Bill HB19 of 2019 in which it was seeking to offload US$10,6 billion onto taxpayers the borrowings which were made without consent from Parliament.

But the officials from the Finance Ministry several times failed to attend the Public Accounts Committee’s hearing to explain the circumstances behind the borrowing of money without the consent of Parliament.

Biti said the last time Guvamatanga cited Covid-19 as an excuse to appear before the Public Committee, this time he was busy.

“Ministry officials, at first they gave an excuse of covid then later last week they had an excuse that the opinion from the Attorney General was not ready.

“We then wrote to them and said, ‘yes we are aware, but the critical issue that we want from you are the timeline in respect of which you will complete the dis aggregation process and the you will forward the books of accounts capturing the US $10,6 Billion to the Auditor General,” Biti said.

Biti added that the Public Accounts Committee Monday received a letter signed by Guvamatanga in respect of which he said that they are too busy completing the National Development Strategy and preparing for the 2021 budget.

“We find the attitude of Mr George T Guvamatanga very disrespectful, very contemptuous of this committee and therefore of Parliament.

“So the unanimous decision of this committee is to issue a Warrant of arrest or a Warrant of contempt in terms of the Parliamentary Privileges Act summoning Mr George T Guvamatanga and his officials to appear before our committee on the fifth of October 2020 at 10.00hrs.

“If he fails then there are consequences already defined in the Parliamentary Privileges Act. The law will follow the course. The Warrant is issued under the hand of the Clerk of Parliament. We are advising the Clerk to issue the Warrant,” Biti added.

When the Finance Ministry came to Parliament last year seeking to offload the money to the taxpayers, Biti accused Mnangagwa and his officials of stealing the money since he came into power after a military coup that overthrew late former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017

“They stole US$10 billion which they are now asking Parliament to accept and forgive! Most of that money, US$8 billion was stolen in the two years of Emmerson’s reign,” Biti said. Nehanda Radio