Bloodbath at ZTA as 35 are sent packing

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TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has retrenched 35 employees as it restructures its operations amid claims the exercise is targeted at employees allegedly linked to chief executive Karikoga Kaseke who is currently away on health reasons.

The current move is said to have been engineered following the appointment of economist Rita Likukuma as acting chief executive in February this year. Likukuma, sources said, has been stamping her authority, although she said she harbours no ambitions for the top
job.

Business Times is reliably informed that the sacked employees received their letters of termination of employment on Tuesday this week.

“Yes I received my letter today and was informed to stop coming to work with immediate effect. It came as a shock and it’s painful but life goes on,” said one senior retrenched employee.

Likukuma confirmed the retrenchments without shedding more details.

ZTA has been under the spotlight after the Auditor General’s report tabled before Parliament by Justice Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi unearthed abuse of resources and poor corporate governance practices.

In her report, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri divulged that among several other questionable activities, ZTA made unauthorised contributions to political rallies believed to be for the ruling Zanu PF, donated $50 000 at weddings, 10 tonnes of maize seed and 50 Singer
sewing machine and  spent some $4 000 on cellphone bills under the line item “ministry-related expenses”.

The report also noted that ZTA advanced an interest-free loan of $20 000 to one of the board members repaid over three years.

The authority also spent huge amounts of money repairing (Tourism) ministry vehicles, fuel and travelling costs of ministry officials.

ZTA also purchased several motor vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz S600 valued at $13 333 and a Mercedes Benz S350 with a carrying amount of $134 000. The vehicles were however registered in the names of third parties.

The spending happened when ZTA had incurred a deficit of $796 000 in 2015 from $969 000 in 2014.

In addition, the report also observed that chief executive Kaseke spent 13 years at the institution without a valid contract of employment.

“There was no contract of employment for the chief executive. The reference point of the conditions of service for the chief executive was his contract of employment with his previous employer.”