Garikai Fadzi

The sacking of nine senior executives from state-owned mobile network operator, NetOne was done without following provisions of proper corporate governance, Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister Supa Mandiwanzira has said.

Two weeks ago, NetOne chief executive officer Lazarus Muchenje unilaterally sacked nine senior executives without approval from the board. Among those sacked include chief operating officer Brian Mutandiro and chief financial officer Sibusisiwe Ndlovu.

Mandiwanzira told Business Times that he was aware of the shake-up.

“I checked with the board, they were not aware of anything and had not been consulted. But the board told me that what had happened on Friday was that nine top managers had just been given letters and told not to report back to work and this included the chief operating officer, chief financing officer and of course the board was very concerned that such an action would lead to the instability of the institution,” he said.

“I then understand that the board took the matter. The board then got to me and said the action that had been taken by the chief executive officer was not done within the provisions of proper corporate governance.”

Mandiwanzira said the board also felt that the timing of the dismissals was bad.

“Given what was going to happen on Monday, Election Day, they felt that the integrity of the institution could be undermined and NetOne could fail to perform its duties particularly on a critical moment of our country where all Zimbabweans were going out to the polls,” he said.

“They felt that the actions were unjustified and they decided that they would convene an urgent board meeting with the purpose of understanding what was going on and stamping their authority that their actions while maybe necessary, it must have followed proper procedures.”

Meanwhile, Muchenje is reported to have filed an urgent High Court application seeking relief in the form of a prohibitory interdict against board members over what he calls lack of proper company governance structures and procedures.