Norton Legislator Temba Mliswa yesterday grilled Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to disclose where the First Lady Grace Mugabe and her son Russell Goreraza got the foreign currency to buy expensive luxury items like a house in South Africa, cars and a diamond ring.
Chinamasa tried to dodge the questions arguing that these were private transaction outside the government but Mliswa said Chinamasa must explain the source of their funds because the country had a severe shortage of foreign currency.
“The Minister cannot duck and dive to protect corruption. This House must uphold the Constitution and must hold everybody accountable; the First Lady has been extravagant,” Mliswa said, adding that he could provide proof about the purchases.
When Hurungwe East Member of Parliament Sarah Mahoka said an individual who was not a member of the house could not be named, Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona said the minister had already responded.
Mliswa added: “I am prepared to give evidence to the minister regarding the fact that the First Lady bought a house; that Goreraza bought the cars. If I furnish him with the evidence, will he answer?”
There have been reports that the First Lady bought a R45 million house in Johannesburg while her son splashed $5.4 million on two luxury vehicles.
The First Lady is also reported to have bought a $1.4 million diamond ring for her 20th wedding anniversary but later returned it to the supplier demanding her money back but insisting that it should be paid in Dubai when she had obtained it from a local bank.
This matter is still before the courts.
HON. MLISWA: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. There is a shortage of foreign currency and any foreign currency which is to leave the country has got to be prioritised. I would like to know whether the money that was used by the First Lady to buy a house in South Africa and equally the money used by Russel Goreraza to buy cars outside the country was priority and did it also have foreign exchange approval?
THE MINISTER OF FINANCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (HON. CHINAMASA): Madam Speaker, I cannot comment on allegations which I am not aware of. These are transactions outside Government. Yes, they are transactions, if they happened at all and I cannot comment. You need to ask those you allege have done so.
HON. MLISWA: I think we need to be consistent. We cannot have Ministers ducking and diving. This is very clear. Most of the questions asked in this House come through various forms. The first family has not denied that they bought a house. There has been no official statement from the first family saying that. It is very clear that unless, Minister, you are able to tell us that you will look into it and you will come back to us and answer the question– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- is it an offshore account or is it not an offshore account. The house was confiscated by the African Forum People. The evidence is there. Minister, I can furnish you if you want, with more information that it is not more than one house which has been bought by the first family. They have equally a house in South Africa. Is the money offshore or is the money coming from here because we have a foreign currency crisis in the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – He must respond. The Minister cannot duck and dive to protect corruption. This House must uphold the Constitution and must hold everybody accountable; the First Lady has been extravagant. The US$1.4 million which was used to buy a ring, it was also out of foreign currency in this country. We have been too quiet. He must answer …– [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! There is a point of order.
*HON. MAHOKA: On a point of order. The Hon. Member is naming somebody who is not a Member of this House. Someone who is not a Member of this House should not be named because they cannot come to answer to those allegations and should not be included in our debates. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, the Hon. Minister responded. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Mliswa, please let us give each other a chance to explain.
HON. MLISWA: Madam Speaker, I am prepared to give evidence to the Minister regarding the fact that the First Lady bought a house; that Goreraza bought the cars. If I furnish him with the evidence, will he answer?
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: It is fine, if you will give him. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, we have agreed with Hon. Mliswa that he will bring in all the evidence, then the Minister will be able to respond.