HomeLocal News2 tobacco firms face contempt of Parly charges

2 tobacco firms face contempt of Parly charges

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
TWO tobacco contracting companies face contempt of Parliament charges after they failed to appear before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture to give oral evidence pertaining to their operations.

Sub Sahara and Voedsel Tobacco Company were supposed to appear before the committee yesterday together with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), but they failed to show up.

The committee had summoned them to give oral evidence on the issue of clearance of payments to farmers and other service providers for the previous tobacco season, as well as financial mechanisms and sources of funding for the current farming
season.

TIMB officials, who appeared before the committee, told MPs that Sub Sahara and Voedsel executives had travelled, hence their failure to appear before Parliament. However, the two companies failed to produce proof of their travel itinerary before the committee.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture chairperson Justice Mayor Wadyajena said: “You (TIMB) are mandated to bring these two companies to Parliament, where are they? You know these issues are complicated.”

TIMB chief executive Meanwell Gudu responded: “Yes, we received communication to the effect that we were invited to appear before Parliament with the two companies. We also communicated with them and they indicated that they are out of the country and will not be able to attend.”

But Wadyajena could not take Gudu’s explanation, warning that the companies faced contempt of Parliament charges if they continued to dodge the committee.

“You (TIMB) is the regulator. Please warn Voedsel that the consequences of not coming to Parliament are severe. We will take action. Every time we have to reschedule the meeting, and I think this time we will take
action.”

Legislators are investigating complaints by transporters that they have not been paid for services rendered.

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