Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Urban Development is yet to meet to deliberate on a petition by Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) to investigate how Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo acquired his reported vast wealth.
This was revealed by the committee’s chairperson, Lynette Karenyi, this week.
She said the committee had not yet met to decide on the BRPA petition due to other commitments.
“We have not yet met as a committee to decide on what action to take on the issue. The committee has to first meet and agree on what action to take. If it means we have to make an inquiry on that, then we will do so. The committee has the power to summon the minister for a hearing on the issue and that will be done if the committee has agreed on doing so,” said Karenyi.
She said as a committee they did not encourage ministers or parliamentarians to be involved in corrupt activities and if the minister was proved to have done so the committee would take action.
BPRA in November wrote a petition to the committee calling for a probe on Chombo over the alleged suspicious manner in which he acquired his reported numerous assets. Karenyi said she only heard of the petition but it had not reached her as yet.
BPRA coordinator Rodrick Fayayo, however, insisted the petition was handed to Parliament in early November this year.
Karenyi however remained adamant that she did not receive the petition.
“I heard that BPRA sent a petition to the committee but I have not yet seen it. I have tried to make a follow-up of its whereabouts but all efforts proved fruitless. I (have) just advised the organisation to resend the petition to us so that we start the probe according to its demands” said Karenyi.
In the petition dated November 11, BPRA said it was concerned over Chombo’s possession of the properties and questioned how he would have acquired the wealth through a ministerial salary.
The residents’ association said it was concerned the properties could have been acquired through corrupt means.
“BPRA also demands a full investigation that will extend to all ministers and government officials in the country since most government officials live lavish lifestyles yet their salaries state otherwise,” reads part of the BPRA petition.
Government officials are reported to own vast assets all over and outside the country yet most people are homeless and poor.
“Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association is appalled and believes that the revelation is a microcosm of plunder that is prevalent in positions of power in the country.
“If the minister is found guilty of enriching himself, the association proposes that he resigns and relevant legal proceedings be taken against him” said BPRA.
Chombo was reported to own 15 vehicles. Court papers also revealed Chombo’s wife Marian demanded a share of the family assets which included 80 residential and business stands, 20 houses, farms, hunting safaris and 12 investment companies.