Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
State Procurement Board chairperson Mr Charles Kuwaza faces contempt of Parliament after he failed to provide parliamentarians with information they requested almost a month ago.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy last month requested the SPB to provide information about the manner in which it handled tenders involving the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company.
The media has been awash with stories exposing irregularities at the SPB.
Zanu-PF MP for Gutu Central Cde Lovemore Matuke chairs the committee.
On Monday last week, Mr Kuwaza was booted out of the same committee after he failed to provide detailed information about the tenders forcing the committee to defer the meeting to yesterday as a way of giving him enough time to prepare.
In yesterday’s meeting, Mr Kuwaza continued to generalise in his responses disregarding the requests by the committee to stick to the questions.
He claimed that he e-mailed written submissions to the committee and the Clerk of Parliament, which MPs said they did not receive.
Committee members, among them Cdes Munyaradzi Kereke (Bikita West — Zanu-PF), Tafanana Zhou (Mberengwa North — Zanu-PF) and Mr Fanny Munengami (Glen View South — MDC-T) demanded that Mr Kuwaza answer questions as per request by Parliament, prompting Cde Matuke to warn him.
“Please take Parliamentary business seriously by attending to the questions. We don’t want this technical report that we never requested. We take it that you are neglecting taking instructions from this committee,” he said before requesting that Mr Kuwaza briefly leave the meeting.
When the meeting resumed, Cde Matuke explained to Mr Kuwaza that he was expected to answer all the questions that were sent to him.
But still Mr Kuwaza continued avoiding the written questions, much to the chagrin of legislators prompting Cde Matuke to boot him out.
“Our guest is not ready to answer the questions. He is just refusing to answer the questions. Mr Kuwaza you are excused,” said Cde Matuke.
“What we will do is that we will take the matter to the Speaker.”
Mr Kuwaza interjected saying he was ready to present and started calling for order in the committee something that infuriated MPs.
But Cde Matuke would have none of it, telling Mr Kuwaza that: “We will stick to the position that you are not ready. The feeling is that you have not attended to the questions.”
Some legislators demanded that he should be charged with contempt for disrespecting Parliamentary processes.
Earlier Cde Zhou warned Mr Kuwaza saying he was wasting the committee’s time by not answering the requested questions.
“He thinks he is clever. This is a parliamentary committee so you should not waste our time. You are not the first one to appear before this committee,” he said.
Mr Munengami added: “If we are not careful as a committee he will fool us. It is clear that he is deliberately avoiding to answer the questions so that he gets away with it. This is an august meeting so he should stop being arrogant.”
Cde Kereke said: “I am at pains to understand how the State Procurement Board is failing to respond to the questions through its representation here.”