Grace faces Parly probe

HARARE - Opposition MPs want Parliament, through the portfolio committees of Finance and Agriculture, to probe First Lady Grace Mugabe on what they say is her abuse of public property — in the wake of her ongoing “donation” of government-sourced farming equipment to Zanu PF supporters only.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa disclosed that the agricultural equipment being distributed by Grace was part of a $98 million loan facility extended to Zimbabwe by Brazil under the Zimbabwe-Brazil food production programme meaning that she is giving away State property.

And while Grace has told Zanu PF supporters that it was as a result of her benevolence that she was giving away the equipment, Mnangagwa insisted that she was merely “handing over” and not “donating” it when he was quizzed by MDC MPs in Parliament.

The opposition legislators also questioned the propriety of Grace distributing State property in a patently partisan manner, but did not get any cogent answers as National Assembly Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, prevented them from probing Mnangagwa further.

Section 308 (1) of the Constitution defines public property as “any property owned or held by the State or any institution or agency of the government, including provincial and local tiers of government, statutory bodies and government-controlled entities”.

Chief whip for former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, Innocent Gonese, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that his party would lobby for the calling of Grace to Parliament to explain herself, in line with the august House’s oversight mandate on State property and assets.

“What she did cannot be acceptable to any right-thinking citizen because it was not procedural and constitutional since the first lady is not a public official.

“So, we are going to consult our parliamentary caucus to see how we can make use of the House to correct this anomaly,” the unimpressed Gonese said.

He added that his party would be guided by section 299 (1) of the Constitution which provided that, “Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of government at every level, including statutory bodies, government-controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities”.

UK-based constitutional law expert, Alex Magaisa, weighed in saying even Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Agriculture counterpart Joseph Made, who are the custodians of the State property under the spotlight, should be made to account for the equipment.

Magaisa argued that the loan which was used to source the equipment fell within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) which was the account “into which must be paid all fees, taxes and borrowings and all other revenues of the Government, whatever their source …”.

“The State and public officials under whose charge the equipment is held are the custodians of this public property and were expected to safeguard and deal with it in accordance with the Constitution.

“Thus the government, and in particular the ministers of Finance or Agriculture, who are the custodians of such equipment under the Brazilian loan, have a duty to ensure that the property is not ‘misapplied or misused’,” Magaisa said.

“Whether or not the property has been ‘misapplied or misused’ is a question of fact and depends on the interpretation of events.

“It is arguable that the appropriation of public property and its distribution by a person who is not a public official under the guise of a personal or party donation is a misapplication or misuse of public property,” he added, saying that in this case, government and public officers allowed public property to be distributed by a private individual”.

He said despite Mnangagwa’s attempts to distinguish between “handing over” and “donating”, still it is was wrong.

“To the extent that there was no disclosure that this equipment was in fact public property from the Brazilian loan to the nation, the whole charade could be regarded as a gross and fraudulent misrepresentation tantamount to criminal abuse of public property,” Magaisa said.

He also said there was no constitutional or legal basis upon which Grace could handle, distribute, donate or hand over public property given that she was not a public official.

“It might even be argued that those authorising or permitting her to distribute public property are failing and or neglecting their constitutional duties as public officers.

“It is unconstitutional and illegal to allow a private individual to masquerade as a philanthropist or benefactor in regard to property that is at law, public property. That the distribution has been done under the auspices of the party or in a personal capacity only exacerbates the illegality,” Magaisa said.

He further suggested that since some laws had not yet been aligned to the Constitution, the auditor-general could, in the meantime, order the taking of measures to rectify any defects in the management and safeguarding of public funds and public property.

Comments (19)

this slut is fast asleep. she will wake up at the hague on day. now their dairy is nearly collapse and one wonders why the public media is lying that she and her children are donating millions of own money. additionally, why would she do so if she knows that emma mnangagwa will be taking over?

josphat mugadzaweta - 27 October 2015

Grace Marufu Goreraza Mugabe is just ignorant and preadventure myopic in this new found power between her legs which she feels has overtaken any kind of authority in the country. She need to be reminded that power given by Mugabe to he is illegitimate because Mugabe is not an elected individual but he assumed power through rigged elections which even the unborn can testify against. However the issue is not to confront Grace, but her source of power which is Robert Chatunga Gabriel Mugabe the Malawian.

amina - 27 October 2015

May I suggest you make a documentary [ even in video form] of the corruption going on in our roads. Name and shame the corrupt police officers end of every week. I can assure you that it will make a lot of good reading and viewing.

Godfrey - 27 October 2015

we may make all sorts of noises but this lady is gaining ground every day. like it or not, the so called war vets, and the ngwenas are too weak to confront this woman. nyika yaenda takatarisa. apa pavakudiwa varume chaivo kwete mbwende dziri muzanu pf. maybe vana gumbo, sibanda and mrs mujuru may be able to put up a fight with her. the rest are just commentators behind keyboards.

taurai - 27 October 2015

Grace Mugabe is having a roaring sexual affair with president Robert Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao to cover up her sexual misdemeanors with other men, authoritative sources have disclosed. Intelligence operatives and a friend of Grace Mugabe spilled the beans as tension rises in the Mugabe family following claims by a Malawian 'prophet' that the nearly 91 year-old president would die this year. The government has dismissed the claims. However, a panicked Grace Mugabe is now desperately trying to secure a future without her husband. She has roped in the dictator's nephew to protect herself from the reported wrath of the Mugabe clan, which has been critical of her alleged adulterous affairs. Mugabe's late sister and Zhuwao's mother Sabina openly told her brother about Grace Mugabe's illicit affair with ex-Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono. An angry Sabina Mugabe told her brother that his wife was going to have the whole family killed to cover her tracks. After that, the shrewd Grace Mugabe is said to have scuttled family investigations into the affair by offering Zhuwao sex and money, which he could not resist. According to documents shown to us, intelligence operatives have now written to Mugabe through online platforms warning him that his life was in danger. Some of the operatives have claimed that they have information that Grace Mugabe was working with her husband's doctor to have him killed through poison. Zhuwao is one of the Mugabe relatives pushing clandestine plans to make Grace Mugabe succeed the ailing Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe. (c) 2015 Now Daily. All Rights Reserved.

josphat mugadzaweta - 27 October 2015

Parly waters is crocodile's safe house. Dragging Grace in there might give him opportunity to throw some punches indirectly. Sex or no sex both Grace and Patrick are looters.- They are fighting from one corner to save their skins, just like the rest of zanu pf lot. RG at 91, that is terminal zone. Natural death is expected. Mugabe family and his followers must wake up and get ready to face reality because it will strike. Which familiy has not buried a loved one in this country?

X-MAN IV - 27 October 2015

Its good that this issue is getting the attention it deserves. The fact is that Grace stole public property and she must return it back to the government so the government can distribute it properly.

Inyika - 27 October 2015

Yaaah there should be a clearly drawn line between party politics and governance. This system has over stayed so they no longer observe this anomaly, by virtue that the current system only appoints a Member of parliament to be a Minister makes it very difficulty and very confusing to differentiate party business from government duties. I think there is need for this system to be abolished and create a whole new system because this one makes it easy for the guys to manipulate their political moves even though they really know that it is not the way they should be doing business. They can do anything to suit what they want even constitutional amendments to secure their will and benefits.

Diramombe Nyamakate - 27 October 2015

Zimbabwe is doomed if we continue to allow a few ZANU pf supporters to decide the future of our country. The path to true democracy is full of land mines but we have to raise the game to become any potential obstacles . What Grace is doing is beyond any comprehension . Why are we allowing her to do as she pleases especially with very possibility that Mugabe can be called back by God anytime now . Wake up Zimbabweans , we are our own liberators and we should not wait for 2018. Ngadzirire pfuti we are ready to join!!!

Be Warned!! - 27 October 2015

Grace aenda nenyika paakwira hameno akadzika. Zanu Pf is a weaked part they dont have our country at heart. Most of these guys must face justice whenever we have a change of government in future,mhosva hairove.

Kunakirwa - 27 October 2015

Kana muchiti mhosva hairove just wait and see. Just look at Joyce and how this whole thing plays out. I'm happy the opposition is making noise about it. Im sad because I know that's all that's going to be done - making noise

Ndosvotwa Mhani - 28 October 2015

I can not blame Dr Amai at all, she has simply confirmed what I have struggled with for 35 years about my beloved contry IN ZIMBABWE ALL THAT BELONGS TO THE STATE BELONGS TO ZANU PF BUT NOT ALL THAT BELONGS TO ZANU BELONGS TO STATE. if you dont belong to zanu you get nothing AM I LYING?

Newnation - 28 October 2015

There is nothing wrong with the Frst Lady handing over agricultural equipment to Zimbabweans. What is wrong is that she did it at a Zanu pf rally to Zanu pf supporters, whilst she was dressed in Zanu pf regalia. That way, she ceases to be Zimbabwe's First Lady, but Zanu pf First Lady. This is why Chamisa asked, "When is the First Lady also coming to donate something at MDC rallies?"

machakachaka - 28 October 2015

chamisa for mdc t presidency.

zvirozviyedzwa - 28 October 2015

I shocking confession Mugabe will make on his death bed is how he rigged Zim elections twice.

Kunda Kinde - 28 October 2015

Grace is a Zimbabwean like other people so l dnt see anything bad for her to give people tractors.guys concentrate on real business nt to make noise .that won't help people who are starving

Zvizvirudzo m m - 29 October 2015

people are starving becoz of freedom of expression,which freedom is most consistent with prostitutes - one group of people who have some level of unconsciousness

disgruntled - 29 October 2015

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