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THE Speaker of Parliament has blocked MPs from setting up a corruption probe targeting cabinet ministers arguing the move was unconstitutional.

Legislators wanted to probe parastatal bosses accused of corruption and ministers responsible for these state enterprises following the recent outrage over the huge salary packages drawn by the executives.

Some ministers were accused of conniving in the scandal after taking bribes from the respective companies.

Again, while the CEOs rewarded themselves generously, their companies teetered on the brink of collapse with ordinary workers, in many cases, going for several months without pay.

Legislators moved to establish a probe team to look into the allegations of ministerial complicity which would have been chaired by Zanu PF MP, Irene Zindi.

However, Speaker Jacob Mudenda blocked the move arguing such investigations were the purview of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), a body that has been dismissed as toothless by anti-corruption activists.

“The chair has looked at the resolution and found that it is void. This house cannot be seen violating its own constitution,” explained Mudenda.

“The house cannot be competing with other state agencies that are tasked with conducting such investigations.

“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is constitutionally mandated to do so while parliament should play an oversight role.”

In April, MDC-T MP for Kambuzuma, Willius Madzimure moved a motion to investigate allegations that ministers received cars and gifts from parastatal heads under their charge.

Seconding the motion, Mutasa South MP Irene Zindi said allegations of financial impropriety had been levelled against state entities such as the Zimbabwe National Road Administration, NSSA, ZBC, Premier Services Medical Aid Society, ZESA and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

At the time the motion was moved and passed, 13 MPs were named to be in the probe committee which would have sought, among other things, to determine the role played by ministers and permanent secretaries in ensuring good corporate governance in State entities.

But in his ruling, Mudenda said powers to institute any probe should be mandated to ZACC adding Parliament only had an oversight role.

“We must uphold the principle of separation of powers,” he said adding that “one of the functions of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is to expose and investigate all cases of corruption and to monitor corporate governance.”

Source : New Zimbabwe