Parly owes outgoing lawmakers millions

HARARE - Parliament owes legislators millions of dollars in outstanding allowances accumulated over the tenure of the 7th Zimbabwe legislature.

Although the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma could not give the exact figure, outgoing legislators, some re-elected in the July 31 vote, told the Daily News that they were owed sums of between $10 000 to $20 000 each.

On Monday at a rare press briefing, Zvoma said Treasury should clear the outstanding sitting allowances in order to kickstart the new and bloated Parliament on a clean slate.

“We expect the Treasury to clear the debt owed to the members of the 7th Parliament and shall inform them when we have the money in order to make the necessary disbursements,” said Zvoma.

“We still owe hotels some money as the Treasury has not released money to liquidate the debt; this also applies to the MPs’ allowances as well.”

Zvoma said each MP was entitled to $75 per parliamentary sitting.

During the 7th Parliamentary debates, legislators complained to the outgoing former minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary affairs Eric Matinenga about late payment of their allowances.

The MPs also complained that they faced challenges in securing accommodation when Parliament is in session, as they were being turned away from hotels because of outstanding bills.

Matinenga advised the lawmakers to take Parliament to court in order to compel Treasury to release the money.

Zvoma said MPs were entitled to a monthly salary not exceeding $2 000 per month and a vehicle under a revolving fund which can be imported duty free as part of benefits.

He also said Parliament facilitates the acquisition of passports for MPs.

Legislators are also entitled to fuel coupons to drive for parliamentary debates and portfolio and thematic committees meetings, as part of their perks.

During the end of the third session of the 7th Parliament, MPs were demanding new vehicles as part of their exit packages.

They also demanded to be paid their outstanding accommodation allowances which the cash-strapped unity government could not honour.

At a joint caucus between Zanu PF and MDC legislators, they put their political differences aside to push for payment of their allowances and other perks.

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