|Wolves at Gono’s doorstep|
|Saturday, 01 September 2012 20:55|
Sunday Mail Reporters
However, the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Austin Zvoma, has questioned the motive behind the committee’s decision.
It is understood that the committee, which is chaired by Mr Moses Jiri (MDC-T), is basing its move to recall Dr Gono on the legal opinion that it sought which indicated that technically, the move by the central bank boss to cite Section 69 of the RBZ Act 22:15 in refusing to provide information to the committee had no basis at law.
However, Mr Zvoma told The Sunday Mail yesterday that the move by the committee was not procedural because first there has to be an audit that establishes that public funds were misappropriated and, even after such an audit, it would be the responsibility of the Public Accounts Committee to look into the matter. Mr Jiri confirmed yesterday that they were still pursuing the matter, saying the
“I can say that he has only two choices, either to come with the list in person or to send the list to Parliament. However, we would prefer it if he would bring the list in person,” he said.
Contacted for comment, Mr Zvoma explained: “This same information being requested now by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture was once requested by the Budget Committee. What I am not sure of is, is this mere coincidence or what?
“However, even if there was such an audit, it’s not the mandate of the agriculture committee to look into the matter. Instead, according to the terms of reference of the portfolio committees, this matter happened years ago and so should be looked into by the Public Accounts Committee if there is an audit that shows that public funds were not used properly.
According to RBZ statistics, about US$200 million was used to acquire equipment under the mechanisation programme. The beneficiaries included 400 chiefs, 2 000 headmen, 60 000 villagers and about 3 000 A2 farmers.
In July this year, the agriculture committee called Dr Gono for a hearing on the same matter, but nothing materialised after the central bank boss refused to provide information requested by the committee, saying he was bound by the RBZ Act 22:15, which prohibits the disclosure of the information they wanted.
Relations between Dr Gono and Cde Zhanda soured after the central bank boss alleged that the legislator had sought bribes from him. Dr Gono said the bribes were meant to cause the abandonment of investigations on the same matter by the budget committee.
While the committee is buried in the Gono matter, highly placed industrialists who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said they had unearthed a clandestine plot by former white farmers, especially those in South Africa, to undermine the land reform programme.
“They are flooding the local markets with these cheap GMOs, leaving newly resettled farmers with nowhere to market their products. The idea is to squeeze the new farmers out of the market and in the process kill the land reform programme, said one industrialist.
“I am not aware of such a thing. I would actually be interested to know the names of the people involved and where such things are taking place. Call me after 10 minutes,” he said.
“We wonder why the Standards Association of Zimbabwe is not doing anything about it. Even our policies are not consistent. We don’t allow GMO inputs into the country, but we allow GMO products. What exactly are we trying to achieve? How do we revive our economy with such a scenario?” said one industrialist.
The industrialist added that after realising the danger caused by the flooding of cheap imports, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa has since introduced an anti-dumping duty to protect its farmers and industry.
“As Zimbabwe we should follow suit otherwise the noble land reform exercise will come to nought and subsequently industry will collapse. Remember these two are interlinked,” said the industrialist.