Uproar over corruption accused Clerk of Parliament coming to work
Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda who was recently arrested for criminal abuse of office after he allegedly corruptly awarded tenders to shadowy company Blinart Investments to supply laptops to the National Assembly at USD$9200 each is still coming to work.
In September last year, Chokuda and other National Assembly staffers were exposed after they awarded laptop tenders to dubious companies Blinart Investments, Mid-End Computers and Hardware before they were blacklisted by the Treasury.
This led to Chokuda’s arrest for Criminal Abuse of Duty as a Public Officer as defined in section 174 of the Criminal Law [Codification and Reform] Act Chapter 9:23. He is out of custody on bail.
Kuwadzana East legislator Chalton Hwende, yesterday (Tuesday) protested the presence of Chokuda in Parliament. He wanted him to be stopped from advising the Speaker of Parliament until his corruption case was resolved.
“My second point of order is that this is a serious issue. We have seen that the Clerk, Mr. Chokuda, someone who is facing corruption charges after the laptop issue is still part of your procession and is the one who is taking the lead to advise you on an issue of such importance that involves corruption that has never been witnessed in this country.
“We want an explanation also on why Mr. Chokuda is still coming to Parliament because he is bringing this institution of Parliament into serious disrepute. You cannot face serious charges of wanting to buy a laptop for US$9 000 and still come to Parliament and advise our Speaker.
“Those two matters Madam Speaker, I am sure you are capable of ruling so that we can proceed,” Hwende told the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Tsitsi Gezi.
“The other one, we will wait for the Speaker because we had come here today prepared for him but we can wait for him but on those two, please can you help us with a ruling.”
Gezi responded and said: “Hon. Hwende, I think on that one you are a bit out of order……, I told you that I am not able to rule on the second issue. On Mr. Chokuda’s issue, I am sure you know that he was taken by ZACC and ZACC is still doing some investigations.
“So, if it is before the courts, we cannot talk about it in this House. You know very well that we cannot talk about it in this House.
“Mr. Chokuda appeared in court and he was given bail. If he appeared in court and the case is still before the courts, we cannot discuss about it in this House please.”
Hwende interjected and stated that Chokuda was interfering with investigations by coming to work.
“Why is he coming to work interacting with the same worker that he is supposed to be investigated for? He is interfering with investigations and today he is helping you to stop gold mafia investigation,” he charged.
“What are you not going to allow? The issue is very simple, Madam Speaker. I have two issues that I have requested you to make a ruling on. As Parliament, we have a right not to be given advice by someone who is facing serious corruption charges and these charges happened here in Parliament.
“The same workers that were procuring the laptops are still here. Why is he coming to work facing corruption charges?” Hwende added.