HARARE, – Meikles Limited chairman John Moxon has written a letter to Parliament exposing Bulawayo South legislator Eddie Cross, who is also a shareholder in the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed firm, for allegedly using insider information for his personal benefit in contravention of Parliament rules.
In the letter written to the portfolio committee on budget, finance and economic development, the businessman alleges that Cross, who is also a member of the committee, used knowledge gained through public hearings on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill to influence other shareholders during the Meikles annual general meeting held in October.
The RBZ Debt Assumption Bill part addresses the question of money which the central bank owes to Meikles and has promised to pay back.
Meikles is owed about $90 million by the central bank, a debt that was accrued as way back as 1998 from transactions related to the group’s dual listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
And Moxon alleges that Cross violated Parliament’s rules by sharing information which had been gained through the committee before its findings had been reported to the National Assembly, violating Parliament rules.
Chairman of the portfolio committee, David Chapfika who read the letter in Parliament, said the committee had since agreed to recommend to Parliament to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate Cross on possible charges of contempt of Parliament.
“More specifically, it is alleged that during an annual general meeting of Meikles Private Limited held on 16 October, Cross alleged that the results of the public hearings on the RBZ Debt Assumptions Bill show that members of the public were extremely unhappy with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill,” Chapfika told the national assembly.
“Moxon also alleges that Cross warned shareholders to disregard the $90 million published in the Meikles financial statement expected as repayment from the RBZ as doing so would have amounted to “counting the chicken before they were hatched.”
Chapfika said “Moxon raised apprehension that Cross may have adversely influenced the committee and benefitted exceptionally by virtue of being a shareholder of Meikles Limited and a member of the Committee.”
Meikles is banking on release of the $90 million by the central bank to fund its expansion programmes as well as compliance with indigenisation and empowerment laws.
Chapfika said the allegations could affect the integrity of the committee.
“The committee is of the view that the allegations may constitute a charge of contempt of Parliament and recommends that an ad hoc committee be set up to investigate Honourable Cross.”
But the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda said he would have to study the matter before making a ruling.
“In the interest of natural justice, it will be fair that the matter is carefully studied by the chair in view of the fact that the alleged perpetrator, Honourable Cross, has a right of reply,” Mudenda said.
“The chair will study the matter and make a ruling.”