By Daniel Chigundu
TRANSPORT and Infrastructure Development Portfolio Committee has warned Geiger International that they risk facing contempt charges for failing to appear before Parliament without giving reasons.
Geiger International won the tender for the dualisation of the accident-prone Beitbridge-Masvingo-Harare which is valued at a cost of about US$2.7 billion.
Former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe did the ground-ceremony in May this year but work is yet to begin on the road 971-kilometre road.
Parliament had summoned the Austrian company to come and give feedback on the progress with regards to the consummation of the road but the company was in no show.
Addressing the media, Committee chairperson Dexter Nduna said they were expecting the company to come as the main contractor to the project “and they did not appear before the committee to that end we have asked the Clerk of Parliament to interrogate why Geiger International did not appear today.
Honourable Nduna added that the next step was to invoke sections of the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders which mandates that everybody is accountable to Parliament particularly to the committees.
The Chegutu West legislator said Geiger International “is supposed to have written to Parliament why they have not appeared and if they don’t put it in writing we will be left with no option but to revoke the sections and charge them with contempt of Parliament.
“Chirundu highway is a very key conduit for economic development so we had given them 2 weeks in order to appear and we came here at the expense of innocent and unsuspecting taxpayers to find that they have not appeared if I was to give you the expenses that Parliament goes through if nobody shows up in terms of appearance and evidence its humongous the magnitude is far too big,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Transport Committee revealed that they have since been informed that the company’s country representative is in Hong Kong and will return to Zimbabwe on the 11th of December.
Honourable Nduna the committee has agreed to give Geiger International a second chance to appear, failure of which they will institute the charges as had been planned.
“…the country representative is currently in Hong Kong and is coming back into the country on the 10th which is a Sunday, to that end if Parliament is sitting on the 11th we have made resolution to give them a second bite of the cherry before we charge them with contempt to appear before the commit.
“If Parliament sits on the 11th of December and Geiger International does not appear it’s going to be a done deal, it’s a delayed match whose results are already known we will charge them with contempt so that we can get some traction on the Chirundu highway because it is a conduit for economic development.
“You are aware that Masvingo road brings in US$3.5 billion each year and the Zimbabwe budget is US$4.5billion so if we continue to have road carnages and needlessly lose lives on that christened pencil thin highway of death and we do not interrogate why even after that groundbreaking ceremony was done long back then they have not started working then we certainly are not doing the citizens of Zimbabwe any good,” he said.