The Parliamentary Committee on Privileges on Tuesday took to task Pacific Group of Companies on a statement issued in November 2020 questioning legislator Sameer Suleman’s claims in the august House that 80 percent of Limbe Town in Blantyre belongs to two individuals.
The company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Faizal Aboo later apologised to the committee, saying they erred in issuing the statement condemning Blantyre City South legislator Suleman for deliberating on issues of national importance in the House.
Suleman did not mention the name of individuals owning 80 percent of the land in Limbe when he made the claim in Parliament, but in its statement, Pacific Group said they deduced the parliamentarian was referring to them based on the description of the company plying economic activities in Limbe.
In a brief interview, Aboo said the company decided to apologise because it respects members of Parliament.
He said: “As Pacific Limited, we respect members of Parliament in the august House. We have apologised because we respect them and because it is the right thing to do.”
The special ad hoc committee summoned Aboo to ask him whether he indeed issued a statement accusing the MP of ‘misrepresenting’ facts on the ownership of part of Limbe Town. The committee also wanted to know why he issued a statement which was regarded as a threat to MPs.
Committee chairperson George Zulu, who is also Lilongwe City West legislator, welcomed the apology.
He said: “We are happy as a committee that the company realised that they made a mistake by attacking a member of Parliament. Members of Parliament are immune on remarks made while deliberating issues in Parliament.
“If outsiders attack Parliament, it means our democracy is at stake as MPs can’t freely express themselves in the chamber. As a committee, we say that this is a positive development and we have accepted the apology.”
During the parliamentary deliberations on November 7 2020, Dedza South legislator Ishmael Onani moved a motion that an adhoc Privileges Committee should be set up to summon the Pacific Group management to explain the statement issued against the comments which Suleman made.