BY VENERANDA LANGA
THE Information Communication Technology (ICT) Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chaired by Kuwadzana East MP Charlton Hwende yesterday expressed dismay over the conduct of ICT ministry secretary Sam Kundishora, who they felt was avoiding appearing before their committee to speak on the NetOne forensic audit.
The 2016 forensic audit revealed rot at NetOne, wherein among other issues a company called Gemalto was paid nearly US$6 million for the supply of One Wallet mobile money platform, yet during its existence, the system only generated US$51 000 for NetOne. The network service provider was also said to have made shady payments totalling US$32 million to several firms without documentation.
A letter that Hwende read yesterday before the committee showed that Kundishora was invited to appear before Parliament on two occasions, that is July 15 and July 29, but he failed to avail himself.
Failure to appear before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee might constitute contempt of Parliament charges.
It appears that on August 26, Kundishona wrote to the committee requesting that the meeting with the ICT committee be postponed to yesterday, but he still failed to turn up amid reports that he had travelled together with the ICT minister Kazembe Kazembe to Japan.
But the NetOne board, which Kazembe and Kundishora were supposed to appear with before the ICT committee, yesterday availed themselves to Parliament. They were turned away because the committee wanted to grill them together with the minister.
“I am not happy with what is happening pertaining to the conduct of the ICT secretary because Kundishora could have sent an acting secretary to represent him before the committee,” Hwende said.
“The matters that we want them to answer to are not matters that are sub judice to do with issues of Megawatt and TelOne. The committee only seeks to get answers on issues pertaining to the mandate of NetOne such as procurement, payment systems, salaries and allowances, acquisition of base stations, taxation of base stations, and others,” he said.