Parly committee wraps inquiry into Mliswa graft claims

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By Anna Chibamu and Audience Mutema

PARLIAMENT’s Privileges Committee on Wednesday completed the the gathering of oral evidence in the case in which former members of the committee on Mines are accused of soliciting for a bribe from a local businessman.

Former committee chairperson and Norton Independent MP, Temba Mliswa, Zanu PF’s Leonard Chikomba as well as the duo of MDC lawmakers Anele Ndebele and Prince Sibanda  are accused of demanding US$ 400 000 bribe from business tycoon James Goddard in return for facilitating a contract with Hwange Colliery Mine.

Committee chairperson Chiefs’ Council president, Fortune Charumbira said his committee would if need be call the members and other witnesses to give evidence.

“I would like to thank Mr Goddard, Mr Stain and the legal team for your endurance since Monda. For the three days of dedicated commitment to the processes in the first part of gathering evidence.

“We have not yet come to the end really. We are done for now but not for good. You never know when we sit and try to find our way into the findings, we may say can we polish up in this area,” Charumbira said.

“For now we have collected what we have. We will see if it is all that we need. We will look at the whole record as a committee and then will decide on how to proceed.”

During the inquiry, Mliswa, Ndebele, Sibanda and Chikomba all denied having held a meeting on 15 November last year to solicit a bribe from Goddard. Instead they argued they wanted to help Chikomba recover his debt.

The legislators during cross examination by the committee’s legal counsel stated their meeting, even though it had was to do with giving advice to Goddard on his business ventures at Hwange Colliery, they also met as colleagues to help Chikomba recover his money (US$2 700) from one Sheperd Tundiya, a contractor with Hwange Colliery who owes the MP.

Said Mliswa: “The whole point of the meeting was irrelevant. I rubbed it off at the end of the day because Tundiya is a renowned con-artist. He must never be close to Goddard. If you are with Tundiya, you are part of the corruption.

“I do not solicit for bribes; I have never done that in my life. I have a facilitation mark up and US$400 000 is too way below my charges in terms facilitation. I have done that before with (Billy) Rautenberg where I charged US$150 million for consultation.”

Ndebele also denied acting committee on parliamentary business.

“We were self-acting not acting on behalf of a committee of parliament. We were not representing the Mines and Mining Development Committee. I am disappointed by the State media which defamed us on Tuesday,” Ndebele fumed.