Senator Aguy Clement Georgias Open Letter
Ordinarily I would not, take the defensive route, when it is all about how one’s performance in Public Service is judged or perceived by those you serve.
To me it is rather unorthodox, and perhaps not desirable to deny any criticisms levelled against you.
To the contrary, such moments often call for deeper introspection.
It is, however, a whole other thing when what is perhaps meant to be censure takes the form, casts aspersions, innuendo or insinuation that has the net effect to malign one’s character, reputation, integrity and standing in society.
Anyone who has been in business as long as I have will tell what these personal attributes mean to your success or failure.
Personally, I take great exception to any unwarranted nor justifiable attacks when they have the effect to detract from a business and personal reputation that I have painstakingly worked so hard to achieve, way before I founded Trinity Engineering in 1975.
I hold sacred and intrinsic such values as honesty, hard work, integrity and compassion.
To put the record straight, here I am writing in response to an article published in The Herald of Friday 3 July, 2015 headlined “Potraz Board fired over Graft”.
In the said article, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services the Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira is reported and quoted to have said he had dismissed the Potraz Board for reasons of “rancid corruption, gross abuse of financial resources, and poor corporate governance”.
In this article my name is mentioned prominently, second after that of the Chairman, Engineer Ishmael Chikwenere.
For the record, I was the Deputy Chairman of the Board up to the time of its dissolution, having joined less than a year after the board was put in place.
Herein lies the problem.
The accusations are serious and have a far-reaching effect on my personal standing and reputation.
If the minister can adduce a shred of evidence, that I, Aguy Clement Georgias, was caught with my hands in the till at Potraz, it would be a good thing.
Better still if a report can be made to the nearest Police Station that I stole so much money from Potraz?
If I may speak for myself, as I do not have the mandate nor consent of any other of my colleagues in the Potraz Board, I am not a thief.
I am not corrupt.
I am not at all guilty of any of the accusations made against the board.
I will state briefly that I have served in Public Service at the pleasure of the State President His Excellency President R.G. Mugabe.
Not once but twice, I am thankful that he found me worthy of appointment to the positions of Deputy Minister of Economic Planning and Development (6 February 2007) and Deputy Minister of Public Works (19 February 2009). For two terms, I also served as Senator in the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
At all times, I served as diligently as best I could with utmost integrity and passion.
When I was invited to serve on the Potraz Board, I gladly accepted and sought to serve as best as I could.
The money I received from Potraz were sitting allowances, a pittance for mostly once per month meetings.
The only business trip I undertook at Potraz was to Malawi for two days.
The only other trip I would have undertaken would have been to the UK in May to attend a workshop on Good Corporate Governance.
I was stopped.
Anyone with an inkling of knowledge in business, would know that our system of corporate governance is modelled on the British Commonwealth system.
Now we stand accused of poor corporate governance?
Is this a case of cognitive dissonance?
What I know has worked for other countries, Japan for example, is a Business Philosophy they call “Kaizen” which put simply is constant incremental improvement. Sadly we are bogged down on trivia.
There are serious challenges facing business, industry, agriculture, mining , public enterprises, parastatals and so on.
From my perspective, the challenges facing the manufacturing sector, public enterprises, all across the board are not open to simplistic solutions, the blame game or name-calling.
It is not a time for gamesmanship?
In the past week since the publication of the article in The Herald, I have had people whisper behind my back things like “chimudhara ichi, taifunga kuti munhu kwaye, vaiita basa rekuba mari dze Potraz?” such is the power of words when used with reckless abandon?
In the past few years I have spent no less than $1,4 million of my personal funds on lawsuits in the UK and at the European court of Justice fighting against the EU sanctions that have had this debilitating effect on our national economy.
That was not just for my personal interest but for the national good.
It is not always that we should do things for ourselves but for the common good.
I fought for enforcement of the “In Duplum” Rule and now it benefits everyone.
I could not possibly put my hands into the Potraz “Cookie Jar”.
That is fact. I neither had access nor the means, either by acquiescence, connivance or instigation.
Good corporate governance evolves with time.
Company practices, culture, traditions, beliefs and mores all come into play.
It is not happenstance.
Even the national code on good corporate governance was only launched in 2014.
But this is not to suggest that we have gone without any reference points over the years, far from it.
New challenges emerge from time to time.
Now we face and live in the digital era!
The Honourable Minister may have issues with certain members of the Board, but that is not justification for a blanket statement where you paint us all with one brush?
I refuse to be called a criminal.
If I am guilty, why not bring on the charges first before passing a public verdict so injurious to other people’s characters and persona?
Honourable Minister, it is an established fact that the Board serves at your pleasure, much as it is your prerogative and discretion to appoint members of that Board.
But it certainly does not give you the right, to trample willy nilly, on other people’s rights.
I rest my case, and wish to restate that I am not a thief.
I am not corrupt.
I also know a thing or two about Good Corporate Governance.
Furthermore when it comes to my reputation and standing with society, I make no compromise.
Leadership comes with responsibility.
It is the mark of greatness to always put others first, to respect everyone no matter their station in life, and to hold sacrosanct such virtues.
They in turn will bring to you honour, dignity and respect.