THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy yesterday warned that it might file contempt of Parliament charges against former President Robert Mugabe after the 94-year-old ex-Zanu PF leader failed to appear in the House for the second time to clear the air on the alleged missing $15 billion diamond revenue.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The committee resolved to summon Mugabe to appear before Parliament on June 11, with Mliswa warning that the former President could then be charged.
“We were expecting Mugabe to appear before us as a result of a letter that had been written to him requesting his person to be here at 2pm, but he has not attended and as a result the committee has resolved to write to him for the third time, because Parliament writes three letters and thereafter we will summon him,” he said.
“We will now write to him again … and in that notification to him we will also state certain provisions of Parliament Standing Orders. If he does not attend he will be in contempt of Parliament, and there are many results of contempt of Parliament like the example of former MDC-T legislator Roy Bennett who was imprisoned, or a fine.”
Part III of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act section 11 on attendance before Parliament and evidence before Parliament and elsewhere states that a person (11c) shall be served summons to attend Parliament by a police officer or other person authorised by the clerk.
“We hope we will not get to a stage of summoning him in respect of the work that he has done and that is why we had opted to go to his mansion or even that the committee be held in camera.”
He said if Parliament is dissolved before Mugabe is grilled it will be unfortunate, as it would mean that the next Parliament would have to take up the issue.
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Section 147 of the Constitution stipulates that if Parliament is dissolved all its business falls away.
“We are hopeful that we shall be able to table the diamond report which is now nearly finished, and we are only waiting for the evidence from Mugabe,” he said.
Mliswa said his committee had since concluded other reports like the Wicknell Chivayo Gwanda solar project issue, which will be presented before Parliament this week giving recommendations on the issue so that the Executive and other bodies take action on the issues raised.
He said the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda is also expected to make a ruling on the case of Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu snubbing the committee and refusing to give oral evidence.