Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Parliament’s Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) wants Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda to force ministers to table audit reports of parastatals they oversee, and to investigate MPs who have not yet declared their assets.
Many ministers have failed to submit forensic audit reports of parastatals to Parliament as required by law.
The audits were carried out by Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri as far back as 2016.
On Tuesday, chairperson of the PAC Mr Tendai Biti raised a point of privilege in the National Assembly, saying many letters written to the concerned ministries had been ignored.
He said failure to submit the reports was against the Constitution and the law, and urged Adv Mudenda to take action against the defaulting ministers.
Some of the parastatals involved are Zesa, NetOne, POSB, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) which has two outstanding reports, Allied Timbers, Cold Storage Commission (CSC), GMB, AU Region 5 Youth Games and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in respect of Augur Investments’ improvement of the Harare Airport Road.
Said Mr Biti: “We as a committee we have written several letters to the ministers in the previous Parliament, but they have not responded. We pray for a ruling placing on notice the concerned ministers vis-a-vis the tabling of these reports.”
Adv Mudenda said he would consult Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda to check records on whether or not the reports had been submitted.
“If indeed these reports have not been tabled before the House, it would be a violation of the Constitution and a violation of the Audit Act,” he said.
“We will ensure that these reports are tabled before the august House during this Second Session of the Ninth Parliament.”
African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption member Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga called on Parliament to investigate MPs who have not declared their assets.
MPs are required by Parliament’s Code of Conduct and Ethics to declare assets within 30 days of being sworn-in.
Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga raised a point of privilege with the Speaker calling for the establishment of a Privileges Committee to investigate the MPs.
MPs have a duty to lead by example by leading transparent lives in light of the fight against corruption.
“We are concerned that up to now we have MPs who have not declared their assets and some of those are now ministers,” said Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
“We are, therefore, resolving and recommending that a Privileges Committee be established to look into this matter and recommend appropriate penalties.”
Adv Mudenda promised to look into the matter and check the statistics of those that had submitted their declarations.
He said a Privileges Committee would be set up to come up with appropriate penalties for those found on the wrong side of the law.