19 March 2019

Zimbabwe: 'Zinara Finance Director Deliberately Dodged Parliament' - Biti

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chairperson Tendai Biti, was left seething with anger after an apparent snub from the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (Zinara) Financial Director.

Biti angrily told Zinara representatives, chief executive officer Mathlene Mujokoro and Wishes Mawuwa that the parastatal's finance chief, identified as A Mudodo had deliberately absented himself to avoid questioning.

Rattled by the lame excuse, Biti who is also Harare East legislator described Zinara officials conduct towards parliament as "disrespectful".

"Finance director (Mudodo) prioritised the vehicle license meeting meaning it is more important than Parliament. I am a practicing lawyer, if I have a case at the Magistrate Court and High Court, I prioritise the High Court because it is more important," Biti fumed.

The Harare East MP then demanded that Mudodo and the rest of Zinara officials appear before his committee this Thursday.

"So, in future we will place you in contempt of Parliament. We will not accept it at all from you or from anyone else.

"We have directed that in future, if Zinara or any other board or organisation will pay for the cost of our sitting which includes the cost of summoning members from their provinces if they behave like this," said Biti.

"We have placed you on warning, this judgment will be contained in our final report that we are going to present to Parliament."

The former Finance Minister wants Zinara officials to explain scandals contained in an audit report produced by the Auditor General in 2017.

Mujokoro and Mawuwa who stood in on behalf of Zinara refused to answer question instead indicating they had only presented themselves before the committee to seek a postponement of the hearing.

Biti said his committee also expected Zinara's director of administration and chief financial officer to attend the next meeting on the 21st of March.

Another report produced by Grant Thorton unearthed corruption at the roads authority including US$5,7 million which is locked in the collapsed banks, abuse of US$71 million and R31 million paid to some 17 contractors without following tender procedures.

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