COMMERCIAL Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) has suspended the delivery of vehicles to the remaining members of parliament following a dispute over the payment of insurance fees, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
According to MPs, government acquired a loan from CBZ to purchase cars for its 355 legislators.
According to the agreement, government was supposed to pay insurance fees of US$786 for each car within a week, but has since failed to do so.
“Government was supposed to pay insurance fees upon collection of the vehicles by the MPs but it has failed sighting liquidity crunch,” said one of the MPs who asked not to be named.
“CBZ then wrote letters to the individual MPs advising us to pay insurance for the vehicles and this is in violation of the loan agreement between the government and us because in the first year of the purchase, government is supposed to pay that fee.”
The legislator also said his colleagues are failing to raise that amount because they have not yet been paid their allowances.
“The insurance is pegged at US$786 per term and legislators are failing to raise the money because they are not being paid their sitting allowances.”
“I am owed US$24 000 from the last parliament and one-year’s unpaid allowances for the current sittings. Already 10 MPs have been involved in accidents and they have failed to claim from CBZ because the bank is arguing that the cars were not insured,” he said.
MDC-T Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya said CBZ should write to government to honour its agreement and not to the legislators.
“CBZ went into this deal fully aware of the bureaucracies involved in the release of government funds especially at this juncture when government is cash -strapped and surviving on hand to mouth,” Chikwinya said.
“Government should simply honour the agreement in full or give MPs the option to obtain alternative insurance elsewhere.”
Another legislator from Masvingo province, who also preferred anonymity, said government should allow the MPs to seek alternative insurance cover because the current one is not sustainable yet they cannot continue to travel with uninsured vehicles.
“They should simply honour the agreement in full or give MPs the option to obtain alternative insurance elsewhere,” said the MP.
The insurance fiasco comes as pressure mounts on Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to settle the US$4 million debt in allowances to current and past MPs.