Speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda says the house will not invoke its internal disciplinary processes against scandal-ridden Justice Mayor Wadyajena before satisfying itself the Zanu-PF lawmaker was indeed under investigations for the offences brought against him.
Mudenda was responding to Norton legislator Temba Mliswa in parliament this week after the independent lawmaker took the speaker to task on why parliament has not acted on Wadyajena.
The Gokwe-Nembudziya MP and four Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) officials were seized by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) recently, charged with fraud and money laundering involving more than US$5 million.
The charges stem from a purported bale ties procurement deal which turned out to be an elaborate scheme crafted by the group to siphon funds from the state owned firm.
They are all out on bail.
Mliswa, also as African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC), has led the push to have Wadyajena penalised for his misdeeds.
Speaking in the house Tuesday, Mliswa said parliament has been too slow in setting up a Privileges Committee to look into Wadyajena’s scandals up until the Zanu-PF lawmaker landed in the hands of ZACC.
He said this was despite evident signs Wadyajena was involved in acts of criminal dishonesty while he discharged his duties as parliament’s agriculture committee chair.
“We must also be seen to be working in collaboration with agencies that fight corruption because we make the laws as well,” Mliswa said.
“It then boggles every body’s mind how serious Parliament is in having to tackle corruption.
“As APNAC, we believe corruption robs us all. So I think there is a certainty up there with members of APNAC themselves, Parliamentarians and the public itself to say we see you exposing others for corruption but now when one of your own has allegations, of course bearing in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty.
“What set up is Parliament taking to ensure that there is some sort of response to give confidence to the people being the institution that represents people?”
Mliswa said the fight against corruption could be effectively aided by a proactive parliament.
However, in his response, Mudenda said parliament will not act yet before it could fully satisfy itself the controversial lawmaker was indeed under criminal investigation.
“I have been in touch with ZACC. I wanted to know whether indeed there is a docket,” he said.
“At law, the docket must be there which raises charges against the accused. As we speak now, before I came here, the honourable Justice Matandamoyo (ZACC chairperson) indicated to me that they are finalising the document because there are other offences that have emerged that involve external stakeholders and these are being asked to expedite to give them information.”
Mudenda added, “So the docket is not ready for me and the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, on the advice of Legal Counsel to Parliament, on the way forward.
“That should be clear by 8th September next week. Once the docket is ready and on the point of probabilities, then we proceed in terms of our Standing Orders accordingly.
“So nothing will be swept under the carpet at all.”
Wadyajena, a one time close ally to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been described as parliament’s blue-eyed boy who could not be touched for his misdemeanours.