MOBILE network operator NetOne says its parent ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services is better placed to deal with the issue of the unaccounted for US$1 million fund it was mandated with distributing to vulnerable citizens whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
As reported by The NewsHawks last week, the Covid-19 funds distributed by NetOne were not properly disbursed and accounted for.
Some of the irregularities in the distribution of the funds were highlighted by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her report titled Special Audit Report of the Auditor-General on the Covid-19 Pandemic Financial Management and Utilisation of Public Resources in the Country’s Provinces.
However, in response to the issue, NetOne said: “NetOne’s focus is to acquire, service, and maintain clients; it would be unethical for us as a business to comment on individual client transactions and deal with other issues outside our jurisdiction.”
NetOne board chairperson Susan Mutangadura added: “Our role as a board is to maintain good corporate governance, but we take seriously our duty to ensure that we preserve and protect public funds.” She said having been tasked with working on the Covid-19 beneficiaries project, they were alert as a business on the need to ensure that efficient systems and effective controls were provided to facilitate seamless processing of transitions.
“From our end, we believe this was done well through our capable team,” she said.
Mutangadura highlighted the need to uphold client confidentiality while handling such issues. She further pointed out that from a strategic perspective, the business has been able to unlock value while making it possible for individuals and businesses to transact in a secure, cashless and seamless manner.
She said the company has no jurisdiction to question clients on how they transact or manage their finances on the OneMoney platform.
“As a business, we are convinced that operational issues regarding the Covid-19 disbursements are better handled by the respective ministry,” she said.
NetOne group chief executive Raphael Mushanawani said his company’s mandate is to offer innovative financial services and solutions to banked and the unbanked communities not breach confidentiality – and not tell customers what to do.
She said the ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare is one of NetOne’s key clients and should handle the issue.
“The company endeavours to give its customers the best service, in this regard as a mobile financial services provider we give customers a platform that enables them to manage their finances and take control of their disbursements. Such a facility was created and made available,” he said.
“The story on Covid -19 funds disbursements by NetOne is important to us as a business and indeed it is of public interest, but our role was limited to providing a payment solution, not to vet the clients and do other things.” — STAFF WRITER.