Four Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) executives, finance director Simon Taranhike, finance manager Shadreck Matengabadza, administration and human resources director Precious Murove and administration manager Peter Bweterere could walk free after Transport Minister Joram Gumbo pressured the Zinara board to withdraw charges. The quartet was arrested in June and appeared in court facing charges ranging from money laundering to violating tender and procurement procedures after they allegedly embezzled $300 000 in a “currency trading scheme” involving dodgy cash transfers.
The Zinara board has reportedly made a unanimous decision to stop all court proceedings and reinstate the executives, after being instructed to do so by Gumbo. Gumbo was unhappy that the board had suspended the executives without advising him. At an August 4, 2017, meeting Gumbo said:
I want your board to take note that the chief executive officer and directors’ posts are designated posts. Holders of these positions cannot be dismissed or suspended without the knowledge of the minister who approved the appointments.
The process of approving and appointing these people involves a number of government institutions, therefore you cannot unilaterally suspend or dismiss senior staff without reference to the minister. For any future actions on this regard stand guided accordingly, as any further breaches will not be tolerated.
Acting board chairperson Wilfred Ramwi wrote to Gumbo saying:
Sir, following the board’s special meeting of 4 and 18 August 2017 at which presentations were made to the board by the affected employees, the board analysed the facts thoroughly and carefully, leading to a resolution to withdraw the case and work on the issues internally
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