Laptop Scandal: ‘MPs defend Parliament Clerk to get international trips’
In order to get favours from the Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda, some MPs allegedly defended National Assembly staffers who awarded laptop tenders to dubious companies Blinart Investments and Mid-End Computers and Hardware before they were blacklisted by Treasury.
Parliament has since cancelled the tenders awarded to the shadowy company Blinart Investments after the company tried to dupe the National Assembly of US$1,602,755. 77 in a deal to supply laptops at USD$9200 each.
Another tender for the supply of 79 desktop computers at US$3 076.61 amounting to US$243 052,36 which was awarded to Mid-End Computers and Hardware, believed to be owned by one Saul Nyakudya, was also cancelled.
This comes after Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga two weeks ago released a report saying that the treasury had rejected the deal awarded to the two controversial companies.
On Monday, the Public Accounts Committee met to interrogate how and why the Parliament had allowed such deals in the first place.
But Norton legislator Temba Mliswa claimed that some MPs were trying to defend Parliament in order to get favours that include international trips.
Nehanda Radio understands that legislators in Zimbabwe are getting poor salaries and benefits hence most of them like international assignments so as to get better allowances.
“As the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) works to find out the story behind the shocking US$9000 laptops, some legislators have been lobbied by Parliament Administration to defend and protect Chokuda. It just goes to show the depth of corruption in this country,” Mliswa stated.
“One argument they are seeking to push is that the matter doesn’t fall under PAC. This corroborates my previous argument that some of these legislators are compromised. They are not progressive and are for party politics. They can’t stand on their own principles and ethics.
“However, as long as some of us are there this won’t work. Some of us don’t seek favours and will push to the bitter end. We are here to serve the people who voted for us and not to grovel for international trips. The blue-eyed boys of Parliament and parties won’t derail this!”
Mliswa warned that “Parliament cannot be involved in corruption and politics shouldn’t be allowed to overreach, influencing the prescription of Parliament. In Parliament we should operate beyond the limitations of parties and personal preferences but uphold the agenda of the nation.
“That’s why I argue that APNAC should be structured independent of Parliament so as to protect it from the claws of compromise. Many initiatives fail to go anywhere because of these issues. We can’t be an appendage of Parliament but a freestanding and voluntary initiative.
“Some of us are not going to be massaged into being pliable to the whims of corrupt politicians or Government officials. Ini handidi hangu kushanda ndakabatirwa demo, I want my independence and freedom.
“Compromised politicians are the downfall of many Portfolio Committees as they operate on the basis of political orientation, personal friendship and many unsavory and unethical practices. That has to end,” the outspoken legislator said.
In a letter dated September 23, directed to the two controversial companies, Chokuda said they had cancelled the tender due to “public interest”.
“In accordance with section 42 (1) (f) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (Chapter 22:23), you are hereby notified that the tender for the Supply and Delivery of 173 Laptops and 79 All in One Desktops, tender number POZ/DOM/013/2022 has been cancelled in the public interest,” read the letter.
“It is the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s considered view that it is not morally and prudentially justifiable to purchase the goods at the tendered price. It is in this context that the initially awarded tender could not be fully concluded….” the letter added.