Parliament has rejected amendments to the statutory instrument on indigenisation and economic empowerment on the grounds that some of the provisions contravened the country’s Constitution.
Amendments recently brought before the House of Assembly by the Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere on Statutory Instrument Number 34 (General) (Amendment) Regulations of 2011 (3) were rejected by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC), because they were against the laws of the country.
Chairman of the PLC, who is also Mazowe Central MP, Shepherd Mushonga, yesterday said Kasukuwere’s proposed amendments were rejected because of three issues that were found to contravene the laws of Zimbabwe.
“Sections 3 (d), 4 (b) and 5 (b) of Statutory Instrument Number 34 of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (3) creates an offence for failing to tell the Minister of Indigenisation that you are a majority shareholder and this attracts a jail term of five years or a fine of $1 000 or both,” said Mushonga.
“The other problem we found is that when a businessperson declares the investment they made and the ministry evaluates and finds that they undervalued their assets by 10%, they can send them to jail for five years.”
Mushonga also said powers vested in the Minister of Indigenisation whereby one could be imprisoned or fined for not registering with the ministry despite doing so with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, were unlawful.
“Companies which are in partnership can be sent to jail but those that are legal personas (sole traders) cannot go to jail,” said Mushonga.
He said for these reasons the PLC saw the indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations as discriminatory.
Mushonga said they found it unconstitutional to allow a minister to impose a five-year jail term on offenders and said that should be the prerogative of Parliament.