NetOne director under probe

June 11, 2020


NetOne Cellular non-executive director Rangarirai Mathias Mavhunga is under probe over allegations of concealing his personal interest in a transaction involving FMC Holdings Limited and the state-owned telecommunications firm.

Information was received to the effect that Mavhunga concealed from his principal a personal interest hence the opening of a case at Zimbabwe Republic Police Anti-Corruption Unit as defined in Section 173 (1) (a)(ii) of the Criminal Law and Codification and Reform Act under Harare Central

According to documents at hand, sometime in 2019, NetOne Cellular entered into a Value Added Services Agreement with FMC Holdings where NetOne Cellular would facilitate its clients to access micro-loans from FMC Holdings.

“When the agreement was entered between the two parties, the accused did not disclose to NetOne Cellular board his involvement in FMC which might
have favoured FMC to obtain the facility in contravention of Section
173 (1) (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law and Codification and Reform Act,” read the affidavit signed by Detective Assistant Inspector Collius Mushambi.

In a warrant of search and seizure, it was noted that there were reasonable grounds for believing that NetOne Cellular was in possession or control of the required exhibit on the matter.

“To the peace officers and other officers of the law, proper to the execution of criminal law warrants, whereas from information taken upon oath before myself, there are reasonable grounds for believing that NetOne Cellular is in possession or control of the following documents and records
which are required as exhibits in a criminal docket and that is necessary
for the purpose of investigating or detecting a case of corruptly concealing from a principal, a personal interest in a transaction,” reads part of the warrant signed by Magistrate Tendai Muchini.

“These are therefore in the state’s name to command you to proceed
to NetOne Cellular and there from immediately obtain and take into
custody the mentioned articles and take them to a police station or other place of safety until the matter is finalised or until you further receive orders from the Court.” Efforts to get a comment from Mavhunga were fruitless despite efforts at the time of going to print.

He was said to be in a meeting when the Business Times contacted
his office.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commision last month arrested
suspended NetOne chief executive Lazarus Muchenje, a board member, and six managers on graft charges.

The eight were accused of being a part of a controversial decision that saw the board member Paradza Chakona, approving rentals of ZWL$1,000 to Muchenje while the market value of the property is supposed to be US$3,500.

Additionally, after occupying the property, Muchenje reportedly bought property worth $600,000 without obtaining purchase orders thereby violating company policies.

The alleged illicit financial deals were unearthed in an audit carried out by Deloitte and Touche on instruction of the Auditor General Mildred Chiri. The audit report noted that Muchenje unlawfully awarded himself a holiday allowance of ZWL$89,5000 and a December bonus of ZWL$507,000.

Muchenje is alleged to have wrongfully and unlawfully paid himself the total sum of ZWL$895,000 for air tickets, per diem and entertainment allowance for a holiday with his spouse in contravention of the terms of
his contract of employment and without Board approval.

Muchenje allegedly breached employment contract Section (4) (d) on theft and fraud, which stipulates that travelling allowances for a spouse are not a part of his contract.

The internal audit also contained allegations that Muchenje and his finance manager were into illicit deals which crippled the public enterprise.

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