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Why Chikunguru was fired: More details emerge



THE reasons former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive Adelaide Chikunguru was forced out are detailed in her confidential suspension letter from the board which contains a litany of charges including irregularities, malpractices and corruption.

In her handwritten resignation letter, dated 1 March, Chikunguru said she was quitting with “satisfaction” that she served the country and President Emmerson Mnangagwa “well”.

This is contrary to her numerous allegations after leaving ZBC. After her departure, Chikunguru sensationally claimed one of the reasons she was booted out was that she had rejected Information minister Jenfan Muswere’s “advances” and “turned him down”.

The incident allegedly took place about three years ago. She claims to have WhatsApp records proving her allegations.

The ex-ZBC boss insinuated Muswere had made some sexual advances on her, but The NewsHawks understands the minister has told his officials that it is false.

According to her 28 February 2024 suspension letter, titled Suspension from employment without salary and other benefits, Chikunguru was pressured out through a series of charges that span flawed recruitment practices; flighting an advertorial without board approval; some falsification of records bordering on fraud; buying self-serving awards for a total of US$30 000; breaches of the code of conduct; gross incompetence; illegally subscribing to United States satellite internet service provider Starlink; promoting a senior official illegally, and some administrative and financial malpractices including an accusation that Chikunguru got ZW$227 837.25 in relocation expenses when she was not entitled to and without board approval; incurred a US$6 939.96 bill on roaming charges while in Dubai; and overclaimed money for taxis and allowances while travelling outside the country.

Further, Chikunguru was also accused of violating public procurement procedures. After receiving her charge sheet, she was subsequently put on suspension awaiting disciplinary action.

She resigned while on suspension. “You caused a requisition for the payment of USD15,000.00 to a company registered in England and Wales called African Leadership (UK) Limited,” Chikunguru’s suspension letter says.

“The alleged purpose for the requisition was advertising for the ZBC in a magazine published by the said company. However, your real intention was to launder an opaque process culminating in the presentation to yourself by the said company of the so-called African Female Leadership Commendation Award.

“You wrote to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and copied the Board Chair advising that you would be attending the African Persons of the Year Awards Ceremony in Addis Ababa from 22-23 February 2024. You further advised that the award was merit based in recognition of your ‘trail blazing leadership accomplishment and commitment to journalist excellence’.

“Further, you advised that the event was fully paid for, without a disclosure that an invoice had been rendered to the corporation for ‘advertising’ in the said magazine in the sum of USD15 000.00. You further alleged that you had obtained prior clearance from the former board chairperson to attend the award presentation in Addis Ababa.

“You failed to provide the invitation letter and alleged approval when asked to do so by the board chairperson. The company involved is registered in England and Wales. It has one (1) officer, a Nigerian born in 1978, and has had a negative balance sheet for two consecutive years. As at the end of 2022 had a balance sheet of 40 000-pound sterling.

“This falsification of records had actual potential prejudice to the ZBC of
USD15 000.00. There was potential reputational risk to the corporation and potential CV fraud in the so-called African Person of the Year Award. This further speaks to lack of administrative foresight, absence of due diligence and gross incompetence potentially placing the corporation in disrepute.”

However, Chikunguru pushed back, giving her side of the story.

“I was pushed out. My family is concerned by the lies that are being spurned out by the ZBC aimed at ruining my image and my good name. I have not misappropriated any funds if I had would the Finance Director be made Acting CEO? All trips I undertook were approved by my board chairman. ZBC does not have a contract or agreement with Nevile Mutsvangwa’s Starlink and has never done business with him or any of his associates. Jive TV is available on terrestrial TV and AZAM. The Mutsvangwas do not own AZAM neither are they directors of AZAM. ZBC was also in talks with DSTV to have Jive on DSTV bouquet documents are available,” she said.

“I did not purchase any awards however I have received many awards during my time as recognition to the work we were doing. We did pay for employees to attend dinners and at times ZBC did sponsor congratulations adverts or profile adverts of the ZBC in support of the organisation or employees who would be winning the awards. This is common practice.

 “I have received on slaught from the day of appointment and the workers’ committee were manipulated to push certain agendas. There was also conflict with regards the former CEO (Helliate Rushwaya) being appointed board chairman (chairperson) in under three years and this breaches the corporate governance regulations.

“My life is at risk. On 16 June I was involved in an accident with security personnel this was after my appointment. Further, going to the Zanu PF conference in Bindura, my wheels had been tampered with and locknuts removed. There are audios where she is heard that if she can’t remove me then she will have to exterminate me. As she is under instruction from the principal!

“On 27 September 2021 at Chimanimani World Radio Day when Minister Muswere was Minister of ICT he made advances to me via WhatsApp which I have, I turned him down! He continued to pester me until he stopped as I was not interested in him!”

Sources say Muswere has told officials at the ministry that Chikunguru’s claims are false. Ministry officials say Chikunguru may be pursued by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over these numerous corruption charges.-STAFF WRITER

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