NetOne bosses axed
Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The NetOne board has terminated the contracts of all the managers who were part of the alleged corporate malfeasance at the parastatal, which saw the Government-owned mobile operator losing millions of dollars through illicit dealings by management particularly in procurement. Price Waterhouse Coopers conducted a forensic audit at the instigation of the Auditor-General’s Office early this year and found a number of irregularities.
NetOne board chairperson, Mr Alex Marufu confirmed the termination of contracts for all the managers who were on forced leave since March this year. He said the terminations were done in the last two weeks.
The top executives who were on forced leave are chief executive officer Mr Reward Kangai, Mrs Memory Mandiya Ndoro (executive public relations and special projects), Mr Prosper Muvengwa (executive retail and sales), Mr Lindon Nkomo (legal executive) and Mr Rafael Mushanawani (chief information officer).
“They were all (contracts of employment) terminated with two weeks’ notice in line with the law,” said Mr Marufu. “Despite the findings (of the audit) against them, the board chose not to go the route of protracted hearings and possible court proceedings.
“A few are challenging the decision but the majority have accepted their fate and the company is in the process of paying them off. I cannot reveal the names at this moment in time.” It is understood that Mr Kangai is one of the employees challenging their expulsion. Mr Marufu said the board was yet to come up with a decision on a number of long overdue debts by management.
One of the controversial issues at the parastatal is that management, led by Mr Kangai owned Firstel Cellular in their individual capacities but do not want to pay the $11 million that they owe the mobile operator.
NetOne and Firstel Cellular entered 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.
However, the company did not remit the proceeds resulting in NetOne approaching the courts with the High Court and Supreme Court ruling that Firstel was supposed to pay the mobile operator the debt of about $8,3 million in January last year. But the debt has since ballooned to about $11 million.
Some of the irregularities found by the auditors include breach of standing company procedures by management, breach of sound corporate governance principles by management, conflict of interest in some of the transactions between the company and employees; and the failure of duty of care and prudence in company expenditure by management in acquisition and or service provision agreement.
The other findings were failure by management to adopt, follow or comply with best practice guides in terms of the National Code on Corporate Governance and Corporate Governance Framework for State Enterprises and Parastatals.