AN investigation initiated by Tourism minister Mangaliso Ndlovu in January has led to the suspension of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Givemore Chidzidzi (pictured), executive director finance and administration Alexio Munyoro and head human resources James Chidzekete, The NewsHawks has established.
Ndlovu instituted a five-member special investigation committee through a Government Gazette published on 27 January 2023, headed by the Public Service ministry’s permanent secretary Simon Masanga, after allegations of abuse of funds at the ZTA.
The committee was appointed after a US$40 000 holiday allowance was paid to Chidzidzi with chief executive Winnie Muchanyuka’s approval.
The disbursement was approved by Muchanyuka and the ZTA finance board secretary without the knowledge of other board members.
This saw the rest of the board demanding justification — to which they failed to get satisfactory answers — leading to Ndlovu initiating a commission of inquiry to launch an investigation into the corruption allegations.
“As a result of the investigations, Chidzidzi, Munyoro and Chidzekete were suspended,” said an official close to the investigations.
The committee was mandated with investigating the policy on holiday allowances for the ZTA chief executive officer.
Minister Ndlovu also tasked the committee with probing the policy on Chidzidzi’s holiday allowances and check: “Whether there are any reference provisions for Acting Chief Executive Officer to get holiday allowances as stated in the letter from Office of the President and Cabinet . . .”
“If the Chief Executive Officer benefitted from Chief Operating Officer allowances? If so how much . . .)
“How payments were effected and whether there was Board concurrence for Acting Chief Executive Officer to get Holiday allowances at Chief Executive Office level . . .” “If there are any breaches in terms of the corporate Governance Act — if so, what are the recommended remedial measures . . .”
“And if there are any loopholes/gaps identified in the allowance system and make recommendations to prevent such occurrences in future.”
The investigation also probed the ZTA board to establish how grocery allowances were paid out during the Covid-19 period. It probed any acts of foul play on whether there was a board resolution for Covid-19 allowances to ZTA board members.
The committee was tasked with investigating any legal breach, and whether this was provided for in terms of the Corporate Governance Act, and also to ascertain how long the board members received the grocery allowances and the total cost in monetary terms.
“On both issues, the committee may raise other pertinent issues in terms of the Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31] and will be guided by the Corporate Governance Act to ensure transparency, fairness and professionalism in the assignment,” said Ndlovu in the Gazette.
Muchanyuka replaced Karikoga Kaseke as ZTA chief executive in June last year, after his resignation in 2021 due to ill health.
She was on the board of the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe and the Chinhoyi University School of Tourism before joining the ZTA. She has vast experience in the aviation industry with a stint as an air hostess for Air Zimbabwe and Swiss Air.
She also worked as an executive for South African Airways.Prior to her taking over, Chidzidzi was acting CEO for some months.After Muchanyuka’s appointment, it was decided that he needed US$40 000 in holiday allowances, without the knowledge of the board.