PARLIAMENT has directed police to ensure Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (Gmaz) chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara, pictured, appears before the parliamentary portfolio committee on Lands today to explain how he and other millers used the US$27 million from the RBZ for wheat importation and the other money meant for refurbishing GMB silos.
This comes after Musarara repeatedly refused to attend the Mayor Wadyajena-led parliamentary portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Climate which is keen to interrogate him over shortages of maize and alleged opaque deals in the importation of maize and wheat.
Gmaz has been at the forefront of importation of maize and wheat through a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) subsidy scheme.
After being frustrated by Musarara, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda directed the police to ensure that Musarara appears in Parliament today.
“You are hereby required and directed by Parliament of Zimbabwe on the sight hereto to summon … Musarara that he appears personally before the Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement that is inquiring into support services by the Government of Zimbabwe into grain and wheat millers and the financing of silo repairs,” read Chokuda’s letter dated February 14.
Papers that were seen by the Daily News yesterday show that although police managed to deliver the summons to Musarara’s office in one of Harare’s industrial areas, a receptionist refused to sign receipt of the summons.
Last week, Parliament heard how the government’s subsidised grain was allegedly being smuggled to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by millers connected to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
The stunning revelations came as the country is experiencing widespread shortages of the staple maize meal — which has put pressure on authorities to scour foreign markets for grain supplies — to avert a mega humanitarian crisis.
According to millers who appeared in Parliament last week, there was a scandal of huge proportions allegedly involving the smuggling of subsidised grain to the DRC, where it is apparently fetching thousands of United States dollars.
GMB sells the subsidised grain to millers in local currency.
Appearing before the Lands, Agriculture, Water and Climate portfolio committee, Wayne Morse — the director of Mr Brands Milling — claimed that the smuggling was being aided by the fact that some millers were allegedly being corruptly given allocations of grain above their milling capacity.
“If a company’s milling capacity is, say 200 tonnes a week, how do you explain it when it is allocated 600 tonnes?
“What happens is that the other 400 tonnes is what is then sold to other countries at a profit, because the grain is cheap this side.
“Even when the process began to be supervised by the ministry of Finance, you will notice the list of beneficiaries has not changed from the one that the GMB used,” Morse said.