- Millers want Wadyajena to recuse himself
- Musarara says allocation was above board
- Wadyajena urges Musarara to appear on Tuesday before parly
GRAIN Millers Associaton (GMAZ) has written to the speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda requesting that the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Mayor Wadyajena should recuse himself from the ongoing oral evidence on how the millers used the ZWL27 million allocation for wheat importation.
This comes as Wadyajena has urged the GMAZ chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara to avail himself to parliament or risk contempt of parliament charges.
Musarara did not turn up for the meeting a fortnight ago amid reports that GMAZ says Wadyajena is overstepping his role and is conflicted because he owns a transport business.
In a letter dated February 18, written by the GMAZ legal team, Musarara said Wadyajena was not being fair in his manner of handling the ZWL27 million-allocation case, adding that he has a hidden agenda.
“The impartiality of the chairman of the portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement has been raised in the previous communication(of February 14). We have indicated that our client has been misrepresente,” reads the letter.
The lawyers referred to an interview on ZiFM where Wadyajena said Musarara was going to be summoned before the committee to explain how the ZWL27 million allocation was used.
“The committee resolved that we are going to summon them, so we are issuing summons for them to appear (before the committee). We need information,” further reads the communique.
GMAZ lawyers refused to appear before the parliamentary committee chaired by Wadyajena, saying they preferred accountability to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee after raising allegations of bias.
GMAZ lawyers said the choice of words and language used in the interview on ZiFM was aggressive, suggesting a biased approach by the chairman (Wadyajena).
The lawyers also said since their client had not granted a tender allowing Mayor Transport Logistics (owned by Wadyajena) to ferry wheat to the millers, this might mean Wadyajena has personal issues with their client.
“The aggressive language and misrepresentations give our client a reasonable apprehension that the chairman may be biased against our client.
“The chairman, we are instructed, owns a transport company. This raises issues of conflict of interests insofaras that information is concerned,” further reads the letter.
Despite the impending response from Parliament to Musarara’s request for Wadyajena to recuse himself from presiding over the hearing, at the weekend, Wadyajena sent the police to hunt for Musarara with subpoenas, ordering the GMAZ boss to appear before his committee on Tuesday.
Last week, Wadyajena invited the country’s three biggest milling companies, National Foods, Blue Ribbon and Educate investments, which benefited from the said USD27 million RBZ wheat facility to explain if they, indeed, received the wheat.
All the three companies confirmed that they had received their wheat allocations without any discrepancies.
Responding to Wadyajena during the hearing, National Foods Group chief executive, Mike Lashbrook, said their relationship with GMAZ was helping millers in lobbying to get good terms from government for their businesses.
“My understanding is that the ZWL27 million facility was paid by the RBZ to the supplier.
“Holbud and us as GMAZ members were entitled to pay the Zimdollar amount equivalent in forex through GMAZ to the RBZ,” Lashbrook said.
Another miller, Anias Chiware, a top executive with Edurate investments, said they had received all they had paid for from GMAZ.