Parly begins probe into Mliswa Committee graft allegations

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT’s Privileges Committee (PPC) will this Monday, begin investigations into corruption allegations levelled against some former members of the Mines and Mining Development then chaired by Independent Norton MP, Temba Mliswa.

The investigation follows the dissolution of the committee after claims Mliswa and some of his members had demanded bribes while investigating the Hwange Colliery Mine contract deals.

According to a notice from Parliament, the purpose of the inquiry is to afford witnesses an opportunity to elaborate on issues raised in statements and for the PPC to seek clarifications on the matter.

The legislators under investigation are former chairperson of the committee Mliswa, Zanu PF Gokwe Kabuyuni MP, Leonard Chikomba as well as the opposition MDC’s Magwegwe and Binga MPs Anele Ndebele and Prince Dubeko Sibanda respectively.

It is alleged that the MPs demanded US$400 000 from a local businessman James Goddard, so that they could facilitate and secure him a contract with the coal giant.

The MPs met Goddard while undertaking an inquiry into the operations of Hwange Colliery as well as its contracts with several suppliers.

Two weeks ago, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, before the adjournment of Parliament, upheld a motion by Zanu PF Makoni South MP Misheck Mataranyika that allegations against the MPs were of a serious nature and called for an investigation.

Mliswa was relieved of his duties as chairperson of the Mines and Mining Development Committee recently but had earlier said he would recuse himself to allow for the investigation. The former Zanu PF Mashonaland West chairperson denies the allegations.

Hwange Colliery Mine has been rocked by several scandals that led to government placing the mine under administration without the blessing of other shareholders arguing the move was meant to allow the ailing parastatal to recover.

Zanu PF MPs in the committee reportedly barred some of the shareholders from testifying in Parliament in what critics argue was an attempt to scupper the investigation that would expose their role in the corruption.

Reports there have been attempts by government and mine officials to cover up massive corruption at Hwange involving senior government as well as ruling party officials.