FORMER Police-Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri cannot be located and yesterday forced the adjournment of a Parliamentary Committee that is investigating government’s botched take-over of diamond mining in 2016.
Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee chairperson, Temba Mliswa, during introductions, noted the absence of key figures to the investigation led by Chihuri as well as former Finance minister Tendai Biti and ex-Mines permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga.
“We realise that the former Commissioner-General, Dr Augustine Chihuri, is not here. Any reason for that Commissioner General (Godwin Matanga)?” Mliswa inquired, to which the new Commissioner-General responded: “Honourable chair, I communicated that with the secretary (of Home Affairs Melusi Matshiya), maybe he can shed some light on that.”
Matshiya revealed authorities had failed to locate Chihuri.
“Upon receipt of the minute from Parliament, I did ask the police to contact the individuals as per that minute.
But I received that letter very late and it became a problem locating the individuals at their give addresses. The same as the former Commissioner-General, nobody could tell us where he is,” Matshiya said.
An unimpressed Mliswa then put Matanga on the spot regarding Chihuri’s whereabouts.
“Honestly, this country must believe that the former Commissioner-General’s whereabouts are not know,” the Norton lawmaker said.
Matanga, while admitting he had an obligation to “know the whereabouts of every citizen”, seemed to blame Parliament.
“It is, indeed, my duty to advise you of the presence or the whereabouts of those individuals, but like the secretary has said, I only received the invitation letter yesterday and in all honesty, it is only fair to give the invited individuals time to prepare.
“I am in the process of looking for the individuals and with your indulgence, I was going to say if we could be given another day for them to come,” he said, suggesting it would be unfair to summon Chihuri and other senior police officials without giving them time to prepare submissions before the committee.
After a short retreat to consult as a committee, Mliswa returned and announced the hearing would be postponed to April 9.
“The proposal from General Matanga makes sense. This issue has to be dealt with once and for all, hence, we have agreed to adjourn this hearing to April 9. We would want everyone who was involved to be available,” he said.
Former Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo then suggested other former Cabinet ministers in the concerned portfolio to be summoned as well.
Mliswa agreed and indicated former Home Affairs minister and now Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Happyton Bonyongwe and his successor Isaac Moyo, as well as former Intelligence minister Didymus Mutasa will also be asked to appear before the committee next month.
Biti, Mliswa said, is wanted to explain the figures that he announced during his time as Treasury chief of expected revenue from diamonds at the time.