NetOne bosses owe firm $11m

NetOne board chairman Mr Alex Marufu (centre) addresses a Press briefing in Harare yesterday. He is flanked by board member Mr Shepherd Tsomondo (left) and acting chief executive officer Mr Brian Mutandiro. -- Picture by Justin Mutenda

NetOne board chairman Mr Alex Marufu (centre) addresses a Press briefing in Harare yesterday. He is flanked by board member Mr Shepherd Tsomondo (left) and acting chief executive officer Mr Brian Mutandiro. — Picture by Justin Mutenda

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
MAGGOTS continue crawling from the NetOne can of worms amid revelations that the former NetOne management led by suspended chief executive officer Mr Reward Kangai owned Firstel Cellular that owes the Government-owned mobile operator over $11 million.

Reports say Firstel Cellular was also used as a conduit to siphon money from NetOne.

This comes amid reports that two more senior officials linked to the scam face the chop as investigations gather momentum.

It emerged that several bank accounts were being operated in the name of NetOne with two signatories only but without knowledge of the board.

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The two companies entered into a service provider agreement in which Firstel was mandated to find clients for NetOne contract lines and then remit the money collected from the subscribers to the service provider, less its commission.

Said Mr Marufu: “We have got a huge debtors’ book. The reason for that huge debtors’ book, as a board we are not confident that we followed what needed to be followed in order to collect the debt that is there. We are doing this going back to 2009, the period of dollarisation because a large part of our debtors actually date back to 2009.

“I must point out an area of concern. A large part of our debtors actually sits with one company and that company is actually owned by the previous management team in their individual capacities. I have a problem with it from a corporate governance perspective, which is why the board is coming and looking at this and say this possibly cannot be right. The amount that we are owed is as a result of management’s ownership in a company called Firstel.”

Mr Marufu said Firstel Cellular owed NetOne about $11 million.

Mr Marufu said they expected the forensic audit to be carried out within two months saying the Auditor-General’s Office would lead the process.

He said they also picked up information that the previous management was operating dubious bank accounts using the NetOne name.

“In the last few weeks, it has come to the attention of the board that several bank accounts were being operated in the name of NetOne with two signatories but without the knowledge of the board. The board will be adding this to the list of areas to be investigated,” said Mr Marufu.

He also said the auditors’ terms of reference would focus on internal controls, payment system, collection of debts, airtime distribution, payment of salaries and allowances, acquisition and management of base station sites as well as suppliers of interest from January 2010 to December 2015.

“We want to review transactions with a number of entities for evidence of fraud or irregularities. For instance, there is a company called Bopela; we understand it’s owned by a gentleman called Mr Agrippa Masiyakurima. Matters of interest with respect to this company include a deal that was signed possibly a year ago with this company to sell NetOne simcards to 500 000 Zanu-PF youths for which $80 000 was paid in advance as delivery of the service.

“Of the 500 000 cards which were committed, the actual number that was delivered was less than 3 000. This obviously rang alarm bells in the minds of the board. Of the 3 000 that were signed for, they were signed as part of a weekend blitz that was launched by NetOne who went across the road and signed up a number of people. This is obviously an area of concern for us.

“We also have some concerns about base stations that are being delivered by the same company called Bopela. I have not seen as an individual nor any members of the board seen any evidence of this contract having gone to tender. So we are very concerned about this. We are not only looking at this company. We are also looking at a company called Masimba Holdings, which is doing some work in terms of delivery of base stations,” said Mr Marufu.

He said they were also investigating fuel suppliers such as Puma Energy and Redan as well as international service providers such as Gemalto, Nokia Siemens Network, Convergys and Technotree.

He said some stakeholders were revealing some of the illicit dealings that were going on at the parastatal.

“Because of the additional information that is coming, it’s necessary for us to send some more people on leave. There might be one or two people that we might have to send on leave. We are still going through the internal discussions to see if it is actually absolutely necessary for us to send additional people on leave. But we will continue to do that,” said Mr Marufu.

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  • Tangwena

    Just like all known Zanu PF thieves Reward Kangai will be protected from prosecution and nobody will be held to account for this fraud. WE WANT OUR 15 BILLION DOLLARS!!!!

  • zinjathropus

    Reward Kangai losely tranlsted Rewad Being Fried pakaipa the wages of sin..

  • Jeff

    Ko Supa Mandiwanzira muri kumutyei? The discussions he had with Agrippa of Bopela are now public information. This government is a big joke and the newspapers are also very sleepy. This calls for serious investigative journalism.

    • mpengo

      And they scream “sanctions!”

      When the very people that are bleeding the country are greedy, fellow comrades… loyal to the nation, the struggle and… most importantly… their pockets, their greed and their tummies!

  • kazukuru

    Nyika yaparara. Nothing works in Zim. Corruption is the order of the day. It looks like if u not corrrupt, hauzive chunhu. PLIZ STOP CORRUPTION NOW FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS.

  • Farai

    Just reading this, you can easily deduce there was massive “a-looter continua”! Zimbabwe is riddled with serious systemic corruption in state linked or controlled institutions, some like CSC and NRZ and AIR ZIM, which were literally now on their knees if not on their backside breathing on a life support system. Look at what happened to PSMAS guys! At least at Air Zim, a couple of guys actually got jailed for serious abuse of office. I am pained my friends at the unmitigated looting going on. Our gvt has said it tolerates no corruption, but it is not serious at all in coming down super hard on the corrupt and setting an example. Guys, Iran recently nabbed one of its wealthiest citizens for evading taxes worth hundreds of millions. The guy is in seriously hot soup. He will possibly lose up to half his wealth, or more, and will certainly go to jail for a long time if convicted, with a possible firing squad being his possible end. China has executed wealthy business people in the past few years for economic crimes which are put on par with treason. Can you tell me how it is possible for management to run that notorious Firstel Cellular for so long and run millions of real USD in debt without being detected by the board or the responsible Communications Ministry? Guys, yes sanctions have played their part to ruin our economy, but the very biggest and most effective sanctions are local, perpetrated by our own people “eating” gratuitously , greedily, carelessly, from the lax, tolerant system. I am pained at the Net One revelations. Do you remember the $3m CMED scam? I mean someone is paid that much money, IN ADVANCE, to deliver fuel and decides, daringly, to deliver NOT even one litre!!! And the guys are still walking the streets, rather driving latest MERCS on the streets, building obscene mansions, their children in the country’s most expensive schools, and older kids in $50,000 per annum universities, flying first class world wide, living it up in luxurious hotels internationally, them being virtually untouchable. In the end, all I can say is GOD HEAR US, GOD HELP US, from our thieving selves.

    • yowe

      The thieves from AirZim were released from remand. They got hefty packages and asked to resign for your information. So no justice was served there as usual

      • SimonPetere


        • yowe

          Yes last year

  • Farai

    Oh! And I just remembered, isn’t this BOPELA the same dude that some Herald readers have posted complaints about, and how he drives speedily in GP registered, expensive state of the art cars? If he is, then, he is one of those untouchables, because he is wealthy, and he eats with guys in the system. GOD HEAR US, GOD HELP US!

  • ya!

    they are just doing the usual thing.a fish rots from the head.if there was a commitment to stamping out corruption.the government should have shown leadership.however there has been numerous commissions of inquiry with no ngoma ndiyo ndiyo!

  • shelz

    No one person

    i mean no one person will be prosecuted and found guilty here

    There is obviously gona be news everyday about this Reward Kangai guy

    he will be fired and not jailed for abuse of authority , fraud , corruption and all

  • wembabvu

    This is what happens when someone is in power for too long.Reward Kangai as with NeOne from its heydays when it was a branch of PTC and was known as CMTS. He used to borrow from us the first Cell phone to be used in Zimbabwe during the launching of the mobile company’s network.
    But look at the difference between us poor engineers and him as CEO. The gap is just too much and points to massive wealth accumulated as a result of ### practices. Let the law take its course .Pasi nevari corrupt

  • General Chaporonga

    What is 11 Million compared to 15 Billion?

    • Patriot

      Hi Gen
      Even $1 is theft and corruption. We need zero tolerance of corruption !

  • hove

    The board chairman said the audit would investigate a transaction in which a company owned by Agrippa Masiyakurima also known as Bopela, was paid $80 000 in advance to sell 500 000 sim cards to Zanu PF youths.”

    I can only imagine the mayhem that would have resulted if it was someone who was given money in advance to sell cards to MDC youths!! The whole board would have been fired and this Bopela thief would have been rotting in Jail right now

    • Mwalimu


  • Ndaneta

    NRZ corruption is a heavily guarded secret just a snippet ..can someone account for monies coming from offshore accounts/properties? Probably heard of those “assets” co owned by Zambia……rumour has it all the cream goes directly into an untouchable “fatcat’s account whilst miserable workers vachinonga svosve nemuromo ……..You begin to wonder ” IS GOD REALLY THERE?” if so why allow such calamities befall our beloved Zim?

    • Strategic

      Isaiah 45v7-9, Hosea 4v6, Proverbs 24v3-4. Ignorance is no defense even before God’s judgement – Proverbs 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.

      14:2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God.”

  • haiwawo

    Tiresome this reporting when we know here will be no action because they are in the trough together. You would have had to be loyal cadre to get appointed into these positions in the first place and frankly speaking who hasn’t been grabbing what they could in the top echelons of the ruling party, and their chosen functionaries, right from independence? Isn’t that why the Leadership Code was a failure before the ink had dried off? So how can they single out one when they are all covered in the same grease?

    All the wealth they all amassed individually did not result from the salaries of “humble civil servants”. This is all for the show but nothing will come of it – as usual.

  • Mwalimu

    We Rewarded Kangai!

    • Azog


  • mike

    SANCTIONS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(self imposed)

  • Muchatiroto

    I bet my bottom dollar no one will be charged ora arrested for this Crime, just like all the other Criminals from Cashed to Air Zim to Hwange to now this

  • Strategic


  • Strategic

    PaChivhu, PaChikomba – Ndibabaka ava, gusvi uko!!

  • karombe

    mandiwanzira na marufu, tsano natsano vava kudzinga kangai vanoda kupinza ani ipapo? babamudiki? mumwe tsano? ani?????????

  • maimuna

    heheheee there goes Alex …My former boss ..