By UK Correspondent
HARARE: Legislators quizzed Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda Tuesday on whether Zanu PF’s Gokwe-Nembudziya representative declared to Parliament the 25 trucks at the centre of a US$5 million fraud charges is facing.
Wadyajena was recently granted $100,000 bail after his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) over alleged fraud at the government-owned Cotton Company of Zimbabwe.
The anti-graft body has since moved to seize 25 haulage trucks reportedly bought using proceeds from the fraud as well as two luxury cars that were impounded as they were about to be taken out of the country at Beitbridge border post.
However, on Tuesday Wadyajena’s nemesis Temba Mliswa, asked Parliament whether the trucks had been declared to the House in terms of requirements for all legislators.
Said Mliswa; “… the 25 trucks which are there were they declared?
“If not declared, what action is Parliament taking to ensure that they are also seen to be driving home their own rules?”
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- Panicky MP Wadyajena busted in attempt to ‘smuggle’ out posh cars
- MP Wadyajena’s world crumbles; stripped of Lamborghini, BMW and 22 haulage trucks
Section 198 of the country’s Constitution requires all public officers to make regular disclosures of their assets. Offending legislators risk facing sanctions that include contempt of Parliament.
Responding, Speaker Jacob Mudenda said; “I have been in touch with ZACC.
“I wanted to know whether indeed there is a docket. At law, the docket must be there which raises charges against the accused.
“As we speak now, before I came here, the Hon. Justice Matandamoyo (ZACC chairperson) indicated to me that they are finalising the document because there are other offences that have emerged that involve external stakeholders and these are being asked to expedite to give them information.
“So the docket is not ready for me and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, on the advice of Legal Counsel to Parliament, on the way forward. That should be clear by 8th September next week.
“Once the docket is ready and on the point of probabilities, then we proceed in terms of our Standing Orders accordingly. So nothing will be swept under the carpet at all.”
However opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MP Charlton Hwende said clarification on whether the trucks were declared did not require finalisation of the docket.
“ … we understand the need for us to wait for the docket, but there is a second part which I think is easy and which is within Parliament’s capacity to interrogate, the issue of the asset declaration because everyone declared their assets and I think it is the easiest thing that we can do as Parliament, just to go into the file to see whether the trucks were declared because if there was an under declaration, then that means there is a case for Parliament to pursue,” he said.
Speaker Mudenda conceded noting that; “We will check in the asset books whether that has been done or not. That is admitted; it is part of the due process.
“You do not want to rush things as if heavens are falling. In the end, the integrity of the institution must be protected. In the end, the due process also must be adhered to. So your point of clarification is accepted.”