By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
4 March 2014
The MDC-T MP for Mbizo in KweKwe, Settlement Chikwinya, has said he’s astounded that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) boss Gershem Pasi is contemplating a constitutional challenge to stop parliament debating issues like the salary-gate.
Pasi, through his lawyers, has also petitioned the media to stop publishing details of his salary of $310,000 a month. During a parliamentary debate last week Chikwinya raised the concerns of all Zimbabweans at such a large salary.
The disclosure irked Pasi who engaged lawyers to investigate if Chikwinya was abusing his parliamentary privileges to divulge what he described as ‘reckless and wholly unfounded statements.’
Pasi’s lawyers also charged that the reports emanating from the parliamentary debate were not only defamatory, but had also characterised their client as corrupt and amoral. However, the legislator hit back at Pasi suggesting the situation he’s now in is of his own making.
Chikwinya told SW Radio Africa’s weekly program, Speak Out Padare, that it’s up to Pasi to clarify exactly how much he earns..
‘On two occasions Pasi had an opportunity to divulge his earnings to parliamentarians but he declined. Firstly at a workshop organised by Parliament he said he could not tell us because there were subordinates from Zimra in attendance.
‘On the other occasion, during an appearance before a parliamentary portfolio committee, he said he had already sent the salary schedule to the office of the president and cabinet and he felt he had no obligation to talk about it anymore,’ the MP said.
Chikwinya said he was not sure what Pasi and his lawyers are trying to achieve by approaching the Constitutional Court.
‘This matter is very simple because I was very clear in my debate that this is public perception and this is the figure in the public domain. What I’m advocating for is for a parliamentary select committee to find out the truth.
‘So Pasi can short-circuit this whole process by bringing to parliament the exact salary schedule as obtaining in Zimra, supported by bank documents to say since 1980, when I joined Zimra, this is what I’ve earned and as of the last pay date this is what I earned,’ explained the MP.
Commenting on Pasi’s reluctance to talk about his salary, the MP retorted: ‘It’s either it’s too low he’s ashamed of his own salary or its too high he’s ashamed of the same salary. It is up to him to remove the shame and expose it to the public.’