Embattled Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) boss, Dominic Mubayiwa has come out guns blazing, accusing “the wonder chairman” Godwills Masimirembwa of looting and Mines minister Obert Mpofu of demanding a minimum dividend of $3 million for government, from the struggling corporation.
Mubayiwa accuses Masimirembwa, who was appointed chairman of the ZMDC board of directors in 2010, of flouting tender processes and company procedure on numerous occasions.
The revelations have been made in court papers that Mubayiwa has filed with the High Court seeking, among other things, to have his termination of employment set aside.
He argues “Disciplinary Authority” was not constituted in accordance with the law. Mubayiwa cites ZMDC and retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako as first and second respondent respectively.
In his founding affidavit lodged at the High Court in Harare on Thursday, Mubayiwa accuses Masimirembwa of a litany of irregularities boardering on corruption and outright fraud.
In one instance on July 20, he alleges, Masimirembwa appointed Mutamangira and Associates as the corporate lawyers, despite being advised that such an appointment would be in apparent conflict of interest.
“He (Masimirembwa) caused the corporation and its associate companies to pay $950 000 for services rendered in the Africa Consolidated Resources dispute with ZMDC when ZMDC was represented by Sawyer and Mkushi and the latter had been paid their fees.”
Masimirembwa is said to have wanted the corporation to engage Mutamangira and Associates while Hogwe and Partners Legal Practitioners could be appointed as Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe lawyers where he again served as board member.
“I advised him against such appointments as there was apparent conflict of interest arising from each of the appointments. Furthermore a change of lawyers required a board resolution which did not exist,” argued Mubayiwa in his founding affidavit.
He further states that on July 20, 2010, Masimirembwa called him and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to a meeting where he advised them that minister Obert Mpofu wanted a dividend declared by ZMDC to government.
He said the CFO had advised that a dividend was ill-timed because the mining companies required capitalisation and he (Mubayiwa) had also further advised that a declaration of dividend required an audit to establish whether the corporation could afford it.
“I further advised him that the Corporation had US$9 million in the bank that was committed to the operations stated before,” Mubayiwa says in the court papers. Masimirembwa consulted the minister and later in the day advised that the minister would not settle for anything less than three million United States dollars as a dividend to government.
“At midday (July 27) myself and three senior managers were advised we would not attend the dividend presentation because we would be proceeding on forced leave.”
Mubayiwa claims in the court papers that although ZMDC had already completed its capital expenditure budgets, which made no provision for the purchase of new vehicles, Masimirembwa proceeded to acquire vehicles, including one for himself, a Land Cruiser 4×4 VX model without the required approval of the Ministry of Finance.
Masimirembwa had, in the same manner, replaced all the ZMDC furniture without approval from Treasury, spending an estimated $140 000.
“Masimirembwa has literally camped at ZMDC paying himself board fees of $200 per day on a daily basis as he is not an employee of the board but a director. His almost daily presence at ZMDC amounts to an ongoing one-man board meeting for which he pays himself board meeting attendance fees, including 20 litres’ fuel allocation per day/meeting/attendance. My continued absence from office clearly accrues direct financial benefit to him,” Mubayiwa charged.
According to the court papers, Masimirembwa allegedly disregared statutory regulations by paying directors’ fees free of tax “in complete violation of tax laws”.
He is said to have proceeded to refund all directors any tax deducted since July 2009, including those directors that retired prior to Masimirembwa’s arrival at ZMDC.
After making the damning accusations against Masimirembwa, Mubayiwa says he did not believe he was having a fair hearing because Masimirembwa had personally “cherry-picked” the people constituting the hearing board and that he (Masimirembwa) had personal interests in seeing him removed from ZMDC or worse.