Home » Judicial » Eddie Cross Faces Contempt Charges

Bulawayo South representative Mr Eddie Cross faces contempt of Parliament charges after he allegedly used privileged information obtained from a committee he is a member for his personal benefit in contravention of parliamentary rules. The allegations against Mr Cross arose after Meikles Limited chairman Mr John Moxon wrote to the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development alleging that Mr Cross used information obtained during the committee’s public hearings on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill to influence other shareholders during the Meikles annual general meeting held in October.

Chairman of the portfolio committee, Cde David Chapfika, read the letter in Parliament on Wednesday and said the committee had recommended that an ad hoc committee be set up to investigate Mr Cross’s conduct.

“It is alleged that during an annual general meeting of Meikles Limited held on 16 October, Cross alleged that the results of the public hearings on the RBZ Debt Assumptions Bill show that members of the public were extremely unhappy with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill,” Cde Chapfika said.

“Moxon also alleges that Cross warned shareholders to disregard the US$90 million published in the Meikles financial statement expected as repayment from the RBZ as doing so would have amounted to ‘counting the chickens before they were hatched”‘.

“Moxon raised apprehension that Cross may have aersely influenced the committee and benefited exceptionally by virtue of being a shareholder of Meikles Limited and a member of the Committee.”

Meikles is owed US$90 million by the central bank and the money is part of debt that the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill seeks to address. The debt dates back to 1998 from transactions related to the group’s dual listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Moxon alleges that Mr Cross violated Parliament’s rules by sharing information, which had been gained through the committee, before its findings had been reported to the National Assembly, violating Parliament’s standing rules.

Cde Chapfika said the allegations could constitute contempt of Parliament and recommended that the ad hoc committee be set up.

Speaker of the National Assembly Cde Jacob Mudenda said he would have to study the matter before making a ruling.

“In the interest of natural justice, it will be fair that the matter is carefully studied by the chair in view of the fact that the alleged perpetrator, Honourable Cross, has a right of reply,” Cde Mudenda said.

“The chair will study the matter and make a ruling.”

The portfolio committee carried out public hearings countrywide this year on the RBZ Debt Assumption Bill in which Government seeks to take over the central bank’s US$1,3 billion it owes various creditors.

Source : The Herald