In an interview with NewsDay, Mabvuku Tafara legislator James Maridadi criticised Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa for defending his Zanu-PF counterparts Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu and Information Communication Technology Minister Supa Mandiwanzira when they were implicated for alleged corruption in the National Assembly.
Below is the excerpt of the interview Maridadi (JM) had with NewsDay senior Parliamentary reporter Veneranda Langa (ND):
ND: You implicated Mpofu and Mandiwanzira in corruption cases, but Chinamasa came to their defence berating you in Parliament, that you must not accuse people of corruption when you do not have evidence. How did you feel about it?
JM: I feel that defending Mpofu and Mandiwanzira is not Chinamasa’s responsibility. If he wants to defend and represent them then he must go to the Advocates’ Chambers and do so, but he must not defend them in Parliament. He is a minister of Finance, and being a good lawyer that he is, he must defend them as an advocate, but not in Parliament.
ND: So what are you suggesting that Parliament must do to deal with bigwigs implicated in corruption?
JM: Parliament must be able to set up a commission of enquiry and investigate the issues because when we are debating as MPs and implicate a minister, we are not saying he is guilty of corruption. It is an allegation, but it must be presented before the courts who will decide if that person is guilty.
Parliament must set up a special committee to investigate and make a presentation during Parliament plenary. The police must also come in and investigate. I never said, for example, that the ICT minister is guilty, but I am saying that allegations laid on him by a senior former chief executive officer of NetOne (Reward Kangai) mean that these are serious allegations that need to be investigated and government must then make an effort to investigate. Ministers are tasked to run government and it is not a petty job. People are looking up to them and they need to work without specks of corruption on their eyes. They have a moral obligation to submit themselves to due process and clear their names.