MINES ministry secretary Onesimo Moyo and Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) chief executive officer Morris Mpofu are facing contempt of Parliament charges for ordering witnesses not to attend a hearing before the Mines Portfolio Committee in which Hwange Colliery is alleged to have lost $6,4 million in unclear circumstances.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Last week, parastatals affiliated to the Mines ministry and other witnesses turned up to appear before the Temba Mliswa-led committee to give oral evidence when Moyo instructed Mpofu to send messages that the meeting had been cancelled.
Despite the messages, the Hwange Colliery board and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe chairman David Murangari stayed on to be grilled by the committee, while several other witnesses left before the hearing.
“When you are summoned by Parliament, you must attend because Parliament is another arm of the State which is run by its own rules and you (Moyo), what authority did you use to tell everyone not to attend, because if you do not explain, we will charge you with contempt of Parliament and when we invite you to appear before the committee, we are not playing games?” Mliswa said.
Moyo’s excuse was that the letter to summon the ministry before Parliament had been written in such a way that all other witnesses were supposed to accompany the Mines minister Winston Chitando.
The excuses did not augur well with the MPs and the committee then instructed Moyo to write a formal letter to Parliament giving his reasons why he instructed people not to attend the committee meeting or he would be charged with contempt.