Parliament has instituted proceedings to force 22 former legislators to repay nearly US$800 000 advanced as vehicle loans during their short stint in the legislative assembly.
Twenty-one MDC-T MPs and one Zanu-PF legislator, Didymus Mutasa, were recently expelled from the House of Assembly and must pay back loans that would ordinarily have been serviced over the course of their five-year terms (2013-208).
Another expelled Zanu-PF MP, Themba Mliswa, was among a few legislators who turned down the US$35 000 per MP car loans extended to them last year.
The 21 ex-MPs from MDC-T were booted out of Parliament because they dumped their party and formed the United Movement for Democractic Change. The uncle-nephew pair of Mutasa and Mliswa was recalled from the House of Assembly after Zanu-PF expelled them from the party for fanning factionalist politics that sought to unconstitutionally remove President Mugabe from office.
Acting Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda told The Sunday Mail that the expelled parliamentarians should repay the loans.
“The majority of the legislators secured vehicles from that initiative and were supposed to pay back the money during the five-year tenure of the Parliament,” he said.
“When they secured the vehicles under this revolving fund, the legislators signed contracts which stated that they will pay back the money. We are now working on modalities on how these expelled legislators will pay back the money because on average each of the 22 parliamentarians owes us US$35 000. Necessary steps will be taken for us to recover the money since they are no longer in Parliament.”
MPs are yet to start servicing the loans because Parliament has been unable to consistently pay them their sitting allowances. The expelled 22 legislators benefited from a US$12 million deal Government secured with Croco Motors that saw 290 legislators purchase all-terrain vehicles at a ceiling price of US$35 000 per MP.
Parliament – through Treasury – undertook to pay Croco Motors over eight months while the legislators would repay through deductions from their sitting allowances.
Now administrators at Parliament are crafting measures to recover the money.