By Anna Chibamu
UNDER-FIRE Sakunda Holdings owner, Kudakwashe Tagwirei Monday left MPs fuming after failing to appear before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to face grilling over his company’s hazy receipt of US$1 billion treasury bills by government.
The business tycoon was supposed to appear before the Tendai Biti led committee.
He was however said to be out of the country on business.
Tagwirei, instead, wrote to Clerk of Parliament, Kennedy Chokuda saying he would avail himself before the committee when he returns home later this week.
“We informed Sakunda that we wanted to have a dialogue with them today,” Biti said.
“They knew that we had summoned them to this committee this morning. A few minutes ago, we received a letter dated 7th of November, 2019 addressed to Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda signed by Sakunda’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Mberikwazvo C. Chitambo advising us that their CEO K.R. Tagwirei was out of the country and asked for a rescheduling of the meeting.”
The letter further read: “In the meantime, in order to aid the work of your esteemed committee whose role is very important in supervising government work, could I humbly request that the questions which the committee would like to ask Sakunda be remitted to us in writing whilst the CEO has travelled.
“I make this request with the view that the responses we shall proffer will help make rescheduled meeting a shorter, less time consuming and more productive.
“I thank you for your attention and beg your pardon if we have arrogated to ourselves the right to suggest the rescheduling of the meeting.”
Biti expressed disappointment over the manner in which Sakunda Holdings handled the matter.
“On behalf of this committee, I want to express our extreme disappointment, extreme unhappiness with the conscious deliberate arrogation by Chitambo and indeed Sakunda of our function and role as a committee of scheduling our meetings.
“We do not accept the attitude of Sakunda which we regard as contemptuous and disrespectful of the institution of Parliament,” added Biti.
The Committee had summoned Sakunda Holdings to give oral evidence and testify in respect of the inquiry in allocated amounts identified by the Auditor General Mildred Chiri as for the 2017 and 2018 appropriation accounts.
Biti also highlighted that the committee had been on systematic systemic forensic process of trying to establish what happened to US$2.9 billion used in 2017 and the US$3.3 billion used outside Parliament and outside appropriation accounts in 2018.
According to Auditor General’s report of 2018, Sakunda Holdings received over US$1 billion from government directly through Finance Ministry or through treasury bills issued by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).