The Parliamentary Privileges Committee set up to investigate allegations against four legislators accused of soliciting a $400 000 bribe from businessman Mr James Goddard completed its hearings on Wednesday after the parliamentarians gave their oral evidence.
The four MPs are Messrs Temba Mliswa (Norton), Leonard Chikomba (Gokwe Kabuyuni) Anele Ndebele (Magwegwe) and Prince Sibanda (Binga North). They are alleged to have demanded the bribe to facilitate JRG (Pvt) Ltd obtain a mining licence at Hwange during a meeting held on November 15 last year.
The four gave their testimonies before the committee chaired by Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira and denied the allegation. First to give evidence was Mr Mliswa, who said he was invited to the meeting by Mr Sibanda.
“It was Honourable Sibanda who invited me to the meeting and he said we would meet Honourable Chikomba and Ndebele there,” he said.
“They said they wanted me to attend the meeting, but when we got there it was clear that the set-up was not something that I believed in.”
Mr Mliswa said he was uncomfortable when he saw Mr Shepherd Tundiya, whom he described as a conman, also present at the meeting together with Mr Goddard.
He said when Mr Goddard tried to produce a contract form during the discussions, he refused to see it.
Mr Mliswa denied that there were any discussions for any facilitation fees, adding that he had advised Mr Goddard to approach Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi if he had any inquiries on Hwange Colliery since it had been put under reconstruction by Government.
Chikomba said he only attended the meeting to collect US$2 100 that Mr Tundiya owed him since 2011.
“He (Mr Tundiya) called me and indicated that his business partner (Mr Goddard) was willing to pay the money that he owed me on his behalf and asked that we meet,” he said.
“That is when I asked Mr Ndebele to accompany me since I did not trust Mr Tundiya. Mr Ndebele then called Mr Sibanda to also accompany us since he was the one with a vehicle at that time.”
Chikomba denied that the purpose of the meeting was to demand a bribe, but was simply to collect the money that Mr Tundiya owed him.
In his testimony, Mr Sibanda said he had accompanied Chikomba and Mr Ndebele “merely as a driver” since he was the one with a car at that time.
Mr Ndebele said Mr Chikomba had only asked him to “come as a witness” since he did not trust Mr Tundiya. The Privileges Committee will make its recommendations to Parliament when it completes its investigations.