SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has backtracked on his earlier stance halting a parliamentary investigation into allegations of illicit financial flows by a web of politically linked individuals exposed in the Al Jazeera Gold Mafia documentary.
Mudenda attracted fierce criticism after releasing a memo that Parliament will not be proceeding with investigations into gold smuggling and money laundering into the fingered individuals.
Using undercover reporters, Al Jazeera captured on camera individuals including Ambassador-at-Large Uebert Angel, businessman Simon Rudland, Kamlesh Pattni unraveling how they smuggle minerals out of the country in the process prejudicing the country of billions of dollars.
The four-part docu-series also brought to the fore how state institutions like the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and Fidelity printers are used to clean dirty money by the cartels.
The revelations pressured the government and other institutions to open investigations into the implicated individuals.
However, an earlier memo from Mudenda said the investigations into the allegations would require extra-terrestrial visits and thus a major stumbling block into the probe.
Days after RBZ’s Financial Intelligent Unit lifted an assets freeze on the implicated individuals in what has been widely interpreted as yet another ‘catch and release’.
Speaking in Parliament, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy president Tendai Biti took Parliament to task over the cancellation of investigations.
“We saw a notice that purported to be coming from the speaker saying those investigations by the relevant portfolio committees are being stopped because the matter is pending before the courts but as a matter of fact there’s no matter that is pending before the court.
“Do you have the power to reverse decisions made in this august house in plenary?” quizzed Biti.
The matter resurfaced during a plenary session Wednesday through CCC legislator Innocent Gonese.
Mudenda, in response said Parliamentary committees were not barred from probing Al Jazeera allegations referring legislators to a local daily paper for further information.
“No committee was barred and committees will exercise their oversight. You can read the statement in the Daily News,” said Mudenda.