By Anna Chibamu
PUBLIC Accounts Portfolio Committee chairperson and former Finance Minister Tendai Biti will on Thursday this week present a second report on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s murky transactions under Command Agriculture.
Biti gave notice to National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda on Tuesday as the Second Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe opened in Harare.
“I rise to give a motion that on Thursday 24 October, 2019, I shall present the second report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to Parliament,” said Biti.
Recently, Biti’s committee grilled the RBZ officials over financial mismanagement as exposed by the Auditor General’s report of 2018 where the Central Bank is said to have paid among over a third of last year’s annual budget to shadowy companies including Sakunda Holdings owned by petroleum mogul Kuda Tagwirei.
The payments were made under government’s controversial Command Agriculture scheme and reportedly amount to about $4.1 billion before it was reviewed to $10 billion in July.
According to Biti, during a Public Accounts hearing, RBZ officials failed to explain why they had paid Command Agriculture $2.8 billion to the government approved agricultural programme which also saw Sakunda Holdings receiving hundreds of millions of US dollars without Parliament’s approval.
At one point, a company that deals in inputs Fertiliser, Seed and Grain (FSG) was named in the AG’s Report for having received US$400 million from RBZ. The company was said to have failed to deliver because it was basically a funeral parlour.
Former Accountant General Daniel Muchemwa who recently lost his job after the Public Accounts Committee recommended that he be relieved of his duties, told the Biti-led committee that FSG was a funeral parlour.
But FSG managing director, Steve Morland however recently denied that he had received the money in foreign currency, insisting he got paid in Treasury Bills.
Biti has in the past condemned the level of corruption in most government parastatals such as Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and National Social Security (NSSA) which led to former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira’s arrest for fraud involving US$95 million.