Zvamaida MurwiraÂ Senior Reporter
the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance wants former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono charged with contempt of Parliament following media reports attributed to him this week which the committee felt cast aspersions on their integrity.
Committee chairperson Cde David Chapfika said this in the National Assembly yesterday while presenting their report on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill.
Dr Gono has disputed claims by some members of the committee that some figures of the $1,3 billion RBZ debt were overstated and said while he was keen to give evidence before the committee, he was not naÃ¯ve to expect the call as his appearance would make âa few people uncomfortableâ.
This appeared to have incensed the committee.
âWe have observed with concern recent media reports which appear to be attributable to the distinguished former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which appear to tarnish the integrity of Parliament, its committees and myself as chairperson of the Finance and Economic Development committee. Should this be proved correct, the former Governor could be in contempt of Parliament,â said Cde Chapfika.
After presentation of the committeeâs report, Non Constituency MP, Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, rose on a point of order to contest the contents of the committee report in respect of Dr Gono saying as committee members they were not consulted.
She said the Dr Gono issue was not part of the talking points they had tasked Cde Chapfika to include in the draft report.
An argument ensued with Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Jacob Mudenda, probing both of them before he ruled that the report be adopted.
In its report the committee said while it supported the Bill, Government should in future not incur such debts without the approval of Parliament.
The committee said they had noted glaring anomalies in the schedule of the Bill with regards to the quantum of the capital sums and the interests applicable if any.
âFor example the FBC Afrexim-bank loan amount of $1,7 million has an outstanding debt listed as $43,7 million, ASP Marketing whose loan amount of $25,8 million with interest pegged at one year plus two percent has amount payable surprisingly listed as $41,2 million,â said Cde Chapfika while presenting the report.
âAmounts due to several FCA Corporates is $70,5 million yet the amount payable rose to an astronomical $131,88 million.â
Cde Chapfika said the committee was satisfied with the explanation given to them by central bank governor Dr John Mangundya on the $90 million owed to Meikles.
Contributing to the debate, Bikita West MP Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, said the quasi-fiscal operations undertaken by the central bank saved the country in the wake of illegal sanctions and were done with the authority of Treasury.
âI want to thank the former Governor for the sterling job that he did in discharging his mandate to superintend over financial affairs of the country,â said Dr Kereke.
The motion drew mixed views as Zanu-PF legislators supported the Bill while MDC-T legislators opposed it saying those who borrowed should pay back.
Kuwadzana MP Mr Nelson Chamisa said the Bill was improperly brought before Parliament as condonation and audit should have been sought first before being brought to the Chamber.
âWe are coming here to condone opaqueness and arbitrary. That cannot be permitted,â said Mr Chamisa.