By Daniel Chigundu
Hwange Colliery Company board has told Parliament that the mine is being run by a cartel which involves management, suppliers and some stakeholders who have defrauded it big time.
Despite producing coal and its by-products Hwange has been failing to sustain its operations and has failed to pay its workers for more than 5 years and also repay its various debts.
So dire is the situation at the mining company that the alleged cartel has sucked in President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mines Minister Winston Chitando’s names in the alleged fraud which is being investigated by forensic auditors.
Appearing before the Mines and Mining Development Portfolio Committee, Hwange director Edward Tome said the preliminary forensic audit report is showing massive looting at the company.
“Some of the things we are getting in the forensic preliminary report at Hwange Colliery are actually criminal and very fraudulent; the company has been defrauded big time, the quantum of which I cannot provide now because the forensic audit is on-going.
“What we have established is that there is a cartel which has been built over years I suppose because I am not very old at Hwange, I am less than one and a half years at Hwange as director, but there is cartel there built over years which involves our management, which involves our suppliers and which involves other stakeholders but we are still yet to provide the evidence,” he said.
Tome added that “the only evidence that we can provide is through a forensic audit hence that’s why you see there is so much pressure on the board, there is so much pressure on the key custodians of company documents that is the company secretary and the internal auditor.
“The company secretary is Mr Alan Masiya so there are all efforts on him to either quit his job, make him disappear, put him under pressure so that he doesn’t focus because what we are going through now needs his energy to focus on it and provide information as and when it’s wanted as the custodian of the company documents,” Tome said.
Hwange said the company’s internal auditor Mr Ignatius Mudenda is also under pressure has been threatened with death by the company’s transport contractor Shepherd Tundiya who appears to have an influence on company operations.
“When we went to Hwange during the first week of September to look at the shenanigans that were happening and on that particular day Shepherd Tundiya was at the mine he was verbally threatening Ignatius Mudenda with his life and this guy had to run to us as the board and we advised him to make a police report at Hwange Police Station which he did but we don’t know what has come of that.
“So the second episode of the abductions from the same Shepherd Tundiya was meant to make this guy fear for his life, quit the job or make him disappear we don’t know what the intention was there.
“There has been this sustained pressure on the key participants and we also note that there has been some sustained pressure and calculated moves to stall the disciplinary hearings involving the financial director Tawanda Marapira and the acting general manager Shepherd Manamike which we were supposed to have been done a week ago and then this Monday we discovered that the company was put under reconstruction,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion another Hwange director Mrs Masuku said there is a relationship between the Mines Minister and Tawanda Marapira who was suspended for fraud twice but was brought back to the company.
She said Marapira is claimed to be President Mnangagwa’s neighbour in Midlands and has been riding on that privilege.
“There is a relationship between the Minister and Tawanda Marapira and I am sure when this Shepherd Tundiya came to us after Marapira had been put on forced leave he said the Minister had asked that Tawanda Marapiras parents were neighbours with the President and the President had asked that Tawanda be reinstated because it would embarrass the President to have that state of affairs,
“Shepherd is the one who came to the board to say the President had asked through the Minister to say please reinstate Tawanda we are neighbours it wouldn’t auger well to see Tawanda being removed that is the sort of relationship we were told that existed between the President and the Marapiras,” she said.
The Hwange board is of the view that the company has been placed under reconstruction in a bid to block the forensic audit currently underway up to January 2019 which could expose how the company was looted and who the looters were.
The government of Zimbabwe is the majority shareholder in Hwange with 37.1 percent shares, followed by Masina at 16, 76, Metal Steel 9.6, London Register 6.8, NSSA 6.45, Hamilton and Hamilton 4.96 among many others.
The company has about 4401 shareholders according to Andy Lawson