Saturday, 11 June 2016


YOUTH, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment permanent secretary George Magosvongwe on Thursday told Parliament he played no role in the controversial appointment of Triple Bottom Line Consultancy to spearhead the National Economic Empowerment Strategy introduced by his ministry. 

Magosvongwe appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya, Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena. He revealed that 3BL consultant owner, Thandi Ngwenya, was brought to the ministry by Minister Patrick Zhuwao.
Magosvongwe also distanced himself from a number of decisions related to 3BL that were made by the ministry. Ngwenya gave evidence before the same committee last month.
She revealed that she knew Minister Zhuwao beforehand and had direct contact with him. Ngwenya told the committee that Minister Zhuwao approved release of ministry documents that her company brought to the committee. This was after legislators asked how a private company accessed important documents belonging to the ministry.
Magosvongwe said he was unaware how the company accessed the documents in question. “I don’t know how they (3BL) got access to those documents because I didn’t authorise any release of any documentation that belongs to the ministry,” said Magosvongwe.
“There’s no ministry document that should be released without my knowledge or anyone I delegated whether principal director or director to release documents without their knowledge.
“In relation to this issue, the documents being talked about, I don’t know where they came from. I didn’t give permission for them to be released because in the first place, I didn’t know there were documents that were supposed to go out.” MPs asked how the ministry got to know 3BL and what their mandate was.
“We were introduced to 3BL by our Minister. He summoned us and introduced Thandi Ngwenya to us. She’s the only person we were introduced to. So she was introduced to us as Thandi Ngwenya and not as someone who owned a company. He said she wanted to work with the ministry and he asked us to look at the modalities of how it would be done,” said Magosvongwe.
He said Ngwenya then brought a proposal on how she wanted to work with the ministry. He said they advised her that they would refer the proposal to the Attorney-General’s Office for guidance. Magosvongwe said the AG’s Office said the matter was supposed to be subjected to a tender process.
When Ngwenya appeared before the committee last month, she said her company did not bill the ministry and were not expecting any payment since there was no contract between the ministry and her company. But Magosvongwe said the company requested payment which he turned down.
“The finance director told me that there was a claim for payment for the work she (Ngwenya) had done. I asked who had authorised that work and what kind of work could it have been when in my view we were facilitating Ngwenya to come up with a proposal that we even subjected to the Attorney-General’s opinion. What work did they do and under whose authorisation? There were no replies.
“So I didn’t understand why anybody could’ve been making a claim for payment of any amount. I declined to understand why anybody would want to bill the ministry when I hadn’t authorised any contract,” said Magosvongwe.
MPs asked for documentation of the request for payment by 3BL. Magosvongwe referred the question to finance director in the minsitry, Emmanuel Ngwarati. Ngwarati denied Ngwenya demanded payment. “The correct position is that there was never a billing. As a ministry we never got any bill from 3BL.
“As a ministry and myself as director of finance, we never received an email or a letter or an invoice from 3BL demanding payment. But we only discussed the expense which they were incurring while carrying their work. I never requested the permanent secretary to pay.”
MPs asked Magosvongwe to confirm whether he sought to deliberately mislead the committee by claiming that he declined to pay 3BL when they never requested for payment.
They also wanted him to confirm if indeed Ngwarati had advised him that 3BL wanted its payment. “When I declined to pay it was after the finance director (Ngwarati) came to me and said 3BL wants to be paid for the work that they claim to have done,” said Magosvongwe.
Cde Wadyajena warned Ngwarati against misleading the committee saying he risked being charged with contempt of Parliament. He said the committee would deliberate on the matter and come up with a way forward on how to deal with Ngwarati’s misconduct. herald


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