FINANCE and Economic Development ministry secretary George Guvamatanga yesterday failed to appear before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain government’s US$9,6 billion over-expenditure incurred between 2015 and 2018.
PAC requested Guvamatanga to explain the over-expenditure by government after the Finance ministry acting accountant general Edwin Zvandasara failed to answer questions raised in Parliament on August 14.
Yesterday, Guvamatanga failed again to appear before the committee, saying he needed more time to prepare responses.
He said he had been disturbed by the Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference, an event hosted by his ministry.
Yesterday, MPs in PAC requested that Guvamatanga be issued with summons to appear before them or face a charge of contempt of Parliament.
“The committee requested Guvamatanga to be here together with his team, but he has sent one official, which is an insult,” Marondera Central MP Caston Mateu charged.
“The information I got this morning is that he is away on business, which is why I then came,” Zvandasara said in response.
PAC chairperson Brian Dube then shot back at Zvandasara, saying: “That is the greatest insult ever. What business could be more important than coming before Parliament? The issue now is that we have to issue Guvamatanga with summons. We have told him before that he will be charged with contempt of Parliament. Summon him to appear before PAC next Monday.”
On July 25, Guvamatanga failed again to appear before PAC to explain the government over-expenditure.
“His last excuse was a fake one and he is not taking us seriously. Last time (July), he lied that he had been in contact with someone with COVID-19, but two days later, we saw him at a public function,” Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende said.
In 2019, government brought before Parliament a Financial Adjustment Bill, which sought condonation for unapproved expenditure between 2015 and 2018, totalling US$9,6 billion.
According to the Bill, in 2015, Treasury exceeded the national budget by US$25 305 741, which surged to US$1 490 888 789 in 2016 and tripled to US$4 562 064 124 in 2017.
Government overshot the budget by US$3 560 343 130 in 2018.
The Bill was introduced in the National Assembly, but it never progressed to the Second Reading Stage.
It then lapsed in October 2020 when the 2019-20 parliamentary sessions ended.
The Finance ministry has also failed to provide the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri with the documents in relation to how the funds were used despite several requests.
Parliamentarians believe this is an attempt to sweep under the carpet.NewsDay