Mliswa, 3 other MPs cleared of bribery but lose allowances, committee membership

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By Anna Chibamu

INDEPENDENT legislator for Norton, Temba Mliswa and three other MPs have been cleared of bribe allegations but were barred from constituting parliament’s Mines committee for bringing the name of the house into disrepute.

The four were being investigated by parliament’s Privileges Committee on allegations of soliciting for a US$400 000 bribe from a Hwange businessman.

Mliswa, who once chaired the committee, MDC MPs Prince Sibanda (Binga North) and Anele Ndebele (Magwegwe) as well as Zanu PF’s Leonard Chikomba (Gokwe-Kabuyana) will lose a sitting allowance each and cease to be part of the Mines committee if recommendations made by the Privileges Committee are considered by Parliament.

Privileges committee chair, Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira on Wednesday gave a report detailing the findings and recommendations made following the investigations.

Charumbira said the probe had a lot of conflicting issues regarding the money that was owed to Chikomba by one Shepherd Tundiya, a Hwange Colliery Mine contractor who had organised the meeting which led to the allegations arising.

“The investigations have seen some inconsistencies in the events that took place early this year where Tundiya, who was described as a con-artist, faced allegations of soliciting for a bribe on behalf of the legislators from a businessman James Goddard as he organised the meeting which took place in Harare,” Charumbira said.

All MPs agreed meetings had taken place but denied ever soliciting for any bribe from Goddard.

“The debt issue discussed after Honourable Mliswa had left but the US$1600 or US$2000 different figures all are conflicting issues about how much really was owed to Honourable. Chikomba by Tundiya,” said Charumbira.

In their submissions, the MPs told the committee that no issues pertaining to a bribe were discussed but it was the issue on the debt which Tundiya owed to Chikomba; so Ndebele and Sibanda were just giving legal advice to Chikomba.

Charumbira also reported that the evidence from the members was insufficient for the committee to prove that there was any breach or contempt of Parliament by the MPs.

“The MPs have been cleared of allegations of soliciting for a bribe of the said US$400 000.

“It should however be noted that measures should be undertaken that MPs are not involved in activities which are in contrast with the rules and regulations of Parliament.

“In that regard, the members will lose one sitting allowance which will be withheld.

“There should be a continuous reminder of their role as defenders of the constitution,” said Charumbira.