The Parliamentary Portfolio committee on agriculture has flexed its muscles by recalling Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development Joseph Made to appear before its to explain details surrounding the $600-million-dollar ethanol plant in Chisumbanje.
Made a fortnight ago professed ignorance after questions surrounding the joint venture deals entered into by Agricultural Development Authority (Arda) and private consortiums Ratings and Macdom which are controlled by business mogul Billy Rautenbach.
Made told the committee that questions surrounding the deal would be better addressed to former Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo who was in office when the agreements were concluded.
The agriculture, lands, water, irrigation and resettlement committee wants Made to appear together with his permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka and Arda chairperson Basil Nyabadza.
They are scheduled to appear next Wednesday.
Committee chairperson Moses Jiri said they were still looking at the Parliament’s standing rules to see if they could summon the three at once.
“We want the deal to be reviewed because it’s not clear. We want to establish what the investor brought and what the government had. We need clarification on this,” Jiri said.
“We are not against the deal, but it has to be transparent.”
The government signed a 20-year agreement under a build-operate-transfer arrangement on a piece of land owned by Arda in Chisumbanje with Rautenbach’s Ratings Investments.
Under the deal Rautenbach’s company holds a 70% stake with Arda holding the remainder according to a memorandum of understanding signed in 2007.
Arda used its more than 5 000 square metres of land to purchase equity while Rautenbach provided the funds.
Currently Arda is receiving 10% as management fees from Rautenbach’s company.
Ratings Investments is expected to hand over the company to the government after 20 years.