By Anna Chibamu
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) officials who failed to appear before the Public Accounts Portfolio Committee on Monday face contempt of Parliament, committee chair Tendai Biti has said.
Briefing journalists at parliament building on Monday, Biti said the officials were being disrespectful by not attending the hearing.
The Harare East legislator said this was wrong considering that the money paid to different suppliers by RBZ towards government’s controversial Command Agriculture programme without Parliament’s approval was too huge.
“The regrettable situation we have right now is that we have a letter from the Governor John Mangudya which says he is in Washington DC to attend the annual meeting of the World Bank (WB).
“There is no reasonable explanation why Khuphukile Mlambo, Malimanzi and Hungwe are not in attendance. So, we find the same in contempt of Parliament, we find their conduct reprehensible, unacceptable and a total disrespect of Parliament.
“Parliament is asked in terms of section 117, Section 119 to conduct an oversight role over all institutions. This committee, in particular, is asked in terms of 298, Section 299 of the Constitution to follow every dollar that comes out of the consolidated revenue funds.
“We are now summoning the Reserve Bank in particular Mlambo, Malimanzi and Hungwe to appear before us at 0900hrs on the 24th of October, 2019. Should they default, we will then take the matter with the Clerk of Parliament to issue a warrant to the mentioned officials.
“The Clerk will write a letter to them formally, but we want to publicly express our disappointment and our total rejection of the conduct by the officials,” said the former Finance Minister.
Biti said the amounts that were spent outside budget were huge and outside parliamentary approval.
He said MPs had a duty to exercise their oversight role of all public institutions.
He added, “We also have some documents we received from the Finance ministry pertaining to payments made to certain individuals, huge amounts of money that were paid.
“There are discrepancies and more questions raised and answers provided regarding those documents.
“So, we are re-summoning before us, on Friday 25october, 2019, the finance ministry officials in particular Principal Director of Budgets Zvinechimwe Churu, Director for Budget Expenditure Fidelis Ngorora and the Accountant General.
“We are told Muchemwa is gone. So, whoever has replaced him, I suspect it is Zvandasara, to appear and answer to questions.”
Government’s Command Agriculture programme caused a stir in Parliament recently after it emerged that $2.8 Billion was paid without Parliament’s approval and at times to companies without any invoices being raised.
The Auditor General’s Report exposed the rot.