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Ex-CSC worker demands prosecution of looters

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A FORMER employee of the Cold Storage Company (CSC) has written to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) urging the unit to investigate former senior managers accused of looting the firm’s assets.

LIZWE SEBATA
In a letter dated 3 February, the ex-employee, only identified as F. Ndlovu, said the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement could not be trusted to take corrective action given that the minister, Anxious Masuka, was part of the CSC board which failed to implement recommendations of the company’s audit and was thus an interested party.

A 2016 forensic audit report into the operations of the meat processor by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri released last year shows massive looting of assets, corruption and mismanagement by CSC management.

The report shows that CSC managers were in the habit of allocating themselves unsanctioned allowances and long-term leases of assets for a song while non-managerial employees and creditors went unpaid.

Zanu PF bigwigs such as the late former president Robert Mugabe, late vice-president John Landa Nkomo and Joseph Msika and Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu are some of the beneficiaries of questionable lease agreements.

The Zanu PF bigwigs are cited as long-standing tenant debtors, who bled the company of much-needed financial resources, leading to its collapse. Ndlovu argued former CSC senior managers cannot be left to go scot-free.

“The report clearly details how a cabal of institutionalised corrupt CSC stalwarts set to take advantage of the company’s lack of structure, proper procedure and corporate governance checks and balances to loot from the state and its people,” Ndlovu wrote.

“The report clearly states how the cabal created a chaotic environment which was fertile ground for their misdeeds. CSC was literally running most of its affairs on a cash basis, a lucrative ground to siphon funds out of its cashbooks. Abated by the fact that the bookkeeping, accounting and procurement procedures were vague and easy to flout, it leaves one wondering how much was genuinely lost during this period.

“As a concerned citizen, prejudiced stakeholder and former employee, I implore you to investigate the cabal. It is difficult to try and go through the ministry and other investigating bodies as the current Minister of Agriculture (Anxious Masuka) was a board member during the period in question.”

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, Bekithemba Nkomo, Rufaro Mazunze, Khodholo Setaboli, Unesu Ushewokunze Obatolu and Reston Muzamhindo.

The late Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri dissolved the board in May 2019.

“It is my or our desire to have your commission look into the findings of this report as, on paper, the CSC Company lost USD$2.7 million. The cabal has escaped the jaws of justice thus far but your organisation is well-positioned to bring them to justice,” Ndlovu added.

Contacted for comment, Zacc spokesperson John Makamure said: “We will look into it. We don’t throw away any complaints we get. We will investigate.”

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