A NUMBER of Cold Storage Company (CSC) senior managers did not have relevant qualifications to drive the turnaround of the company with one line manager exposed as only having an Advanced Level certificate as his highest qualification.
Several high-ranking government officials, including late former president Robert Mugabe, late former vice-presidents Joseph Msika and John Nkomo and Zanu PF politburo member Obert Mpofu also unfairly benefitted from the company, according to the audit report.
This is contained in the CSC’s last 2016 forensic audit into the operations of the meat processor by Auditor-General Milred Chiri.
The audit report reveals massive mismanagement and corruption by CSC managers who were in the habit of allocating themselves unsanctioned allowances and long-term leases of company assets for a song while non-managerial employees and creditors went unpaid.
The Zanu PF bigwigs are among beneficiaries of questionable lease agreements and are cited as long-standing tenant debtors, who bled the company of much-needed financial resources.
According to the audit report, key CSC managers did not have requisite qualifications with head office management accountant Max Kasore cited as having only an A Level certificate as his highest qualification.
Other senior managers such as Ngoni Chinogaramombe, former CSC chief executive officer, Moses Mrewa, human resources director, Isaiah Machingura, marketing director, Reuben Chagwinya, administration manager, Engelberth Marufu, finance manager and Godwin Mayeka, the treasury accountant did not have diploma or first-degree qualifications required for their positions.
“There is no documentation on the professional or academic expectation on the management of CSC. It is a general expectation that those senior positions, equivalent to grades D and E be filled by people with a minimum of a first degree in the relevant field,” the audit report reads in part.
“Some of the senior and middle managers have no first degrees, diploma or other professional qualifications relevant for their work but they do have substantive experience working at CSC.”
Senior managers leased vast tracts of CSC properties including land and buildings for a song.
“There is no evidence on file to show the criteria used to determine rental rates for CSC leased properties,” the audit report reads.
The report shows that CSC leased paddocks measuring 1 320 hectares to Chinogaramombe at a monthly fee of US$264, half the price of a cow.
“The lease agreement was signed by CSC board chairperson (the late Professor Lindela Ndlovu) on 28 November 2013 on behalf of CSC, granting Chinogaramombe a 30-year lease for a half year fee of US$1 584 (annual fee of US$3 168).
“The lease agreement did not state rental fee per hectare but instead stated the total amount for the 1 320 hectares. We did not find any board resolution on file ratifying this decision. We also did not find any declaration of interest in Mr Chinogaramombe’s personal file,” the audit report adds.
The report shows that Mugabe’s Gushongo Holdings, the late VP Msika, current Zanu PF secretary for administration Mpofu, the late ambassador and Major-General Javan Maseko, War Veterans Trust and CSC board member Charles Madonko were among several of the company’s long-standing tenant debtors during the period under review.
“From debtors’ ledgers provided to us by Mr (Max) Kasore, CSC was owed a total of US$655 981 in rentals for offices and ranches by its debtors as at June 2015. We analysed the list of CSC debtors and noted that a number of tenants were in default of the lease agreements as they had long outstanding debts,” the report reads.
As at 30 June 30 2015, Mpofu owed the CSC US$20 725, Madonko US$15 308, Msika US$11 208, Maseko US$9 590 and Mugabe’s Gushongo Holdings US$5 000.
Current Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka was a member of the last CSC board that failed to implement the recommendations of the audit report to turnaround the fortunes of the struggling meat processor.
Masuka was appointed to the CSC board in April 2017 by former Agriculture minister Joseph Made alongside Sylvia Khumalo Jiyane (board chairperson), Nemrod Chiminya (deputy chairperson), committee members Emily Mumbengegwi, Peter Nyoni, Cecilia Paradza, Bekhithemba Nkomo, Rufaro Mazunze, Khodholo Setaboli, Unesu Ushewokunze Obatolu and engineer Reston Muzamhindo.
Late Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri dissolved the board in May 2019.