‘Ex-SPB boss has case to answer’

via ‘Ex-SPB boss has case to answer’ – DailyNews Live Farayi Machamire • 17 February 2016

HARARE – Parliament yesterday moved to have ex-State Procurement Board (SPB) chairperson Charles Kuwaza arrested on charges of showing contempt for the august House.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy said Kuwaza had a case for contempt of Parliament to answer and his attitude constituted an attack on the dignity of the Zimbabwean Parliament.

Kuwaza ignored persistent requests starting mid last year that the SPB provide information on the manner in which it handled tenders involving the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company.

“The chair rules that the alleged conduct by Kuwaza constitutes a prima facie case of contempt of Parliament,” Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said yesterday.

“The chair rules that an adhoc committee be constituted to examine his conduct.”

Under Zimbabwean law, Parliament has the authority to sit as a court and impose penalties, although legal experts say it may infringe on the constitutional rights of Zimbabweans to receive a fair trial.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s contempt of Parliament charge was thrown out.

The former Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister had a heated altercation with chairperson of the parliamentary committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Justice Wadyajena mid last year.

Kasukuwere had been summoned to appear before the Wadyajena-chaired committee to clarify how he administered the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust Scheme between 2009 and 2013 when he was in charge of the portfolio.

Wadyajena is a key ally of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while Kasukuwere’s relationship with the vice president has been deteriorating.

“The facts as presented do not establish sufficient evidence to make a case against the honourable minister,” Mudenda said.

“Apart from reading the report that was presented for my consideration, I should be extra cautious and listen to the recording of that particular seating in which the particular utterances were made.

“In listening to the recording, I became aware that there was an exchange of words between Wadyajena and the minister. The report of the committee left out some of the utterances which would have given the proper context.

“I found nothing of the utterances by the minister that constitute threats. The minister presented his evidence quite eloquently. The other members of the committee even posed questions, showing that the minister presented himself as was expected.

“The chair rules that the alleged conduct does not constitute a prima facie case,” Mudenda added.