ARDA workers protest over corruption, wages

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MORE than 30 employees of State-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) yesterday spent their third night in the acting managing director’s office protesting over gross incompetence, corruption and non-payment of salaries since October last year.

BY MOSES MATENGA
STAFF REPORTER

The workers said they had since written to the President’s Office, the ministry of agriculture, the board chairperson Basil Nyabadza and other stakeholders over the issues happening within the company.

They want the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to act on alleged corruption cases within the organisation.

When NewsDay visited the company’s premises in Harare yesterday morning, most of the workers had just woken up in Willard Mbona, the acting managing director’s office where they spent the night.

The workers also accused their board chairperson Nyabadza of lying that all was well within the company while engaging in suspicious deals for self-aggrandisement.

Chairperson on the workers’ committee Bauren Francis said they would continue sleeping in the office until management engaged them and address their concerns.

“We have gone for five months without pay here (at the head office) and a number of people in the farms have gone for over four years without pay,” he said.
“There is no payroll since October last year, our pension is not being remitted and our families are in trouble because we are not being paid,” said Francis.

“Ever since the acting general manager came, he has been fighting workers. We won some of the cases, but he uses company resources to appeal. If you go to our farms, there is no production and you wonder where these people are putting the money,” said Francis.

A workers’ committee member Edmore Chikobvu said: “The company lost a lot of money in a lot of deals including the wheat deal and we would appreciate government assistance in getting to the bottom of the issues taking place.”

“Nyabadza is always in the press saying all was well even in the ethanol project, but we are getting nothing from that,” another worker chipped in.
“How can you have a company where the general manager is everything. He is the one who signs everything including a dollar to photocopy needed material. He has been acting for five years now and all he has done was to fight workers.”

Nyabadza and Mbona could not be reached for comment.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Ha its a tip of the iceberg. This issue brings to question hw parastals are managed in zim, their relationships with line ministries and so called president’s ofis. A lot of shady dealings are going on at Arda bt alas the minister carrys on as if ol is ok even afta a parlimentary probe. The president himself is on record vachiti ‘Arda yaora’ bt no action was taken. Tatambura chokwadi

  2. Gone are the days they used to bribe them with petrol. I remember back in 2005 to 2007 my friend working for ARDA went for over six months without pay and all they used to get was fuel allowances which he then ended up selling in the black market to sustain his family. Thank god he left the rotten company and the country all together. I used to feel for him.

  3. The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has been brought to its knees by corrupt management. I agree with Kumbirai Kawadza’s letter which was published by the herald on the 20th of November 2013, in which he said “Government’s stance on agriculture laudable.” May I also take this opportunity to ask the ARDA Board Chairman, CDE B.S.E. Nyabadza, why he is refusing to meet the ARDA Head office workers. The workers wrote several letters to the Chairman, the then permenant secretary to the ministry of Agriculture and the minister himself, CDE J. MADE. The Acting General Manager Mr W.T. Mbona wrote a letter to employees indicating that he did not want to talk to them then and in the future.

    The workers highlighted a number of irregularities which has brought ARDA to its knees. The irregularities include the following:

    1. CBZ loan amounting to about US$9 million. The workers wanted an explanation from the Acting General Manager and the ARDA Board as to what the money was used for?

    2. The workers questioned the sale of wheat to a bogus company, Tandarai Inn. ARDA lost about US$170,000 in that deal. The Acting General Manager approved the sell of wheat on credit top this bogus company on credit when ARDA’s policy does not allow anyone to sell any produce on credit.

    3. Workers questioned the management competence in purchasing tea plucking machines from Brazil in 2004 and paying the amount in full, but as l report today, the machines have not been delivered to ARDA.

    4. Workers also demanded an explanation as to why ARDA management purchased 100 tonnes of fertilizer from the ARDA Board Chairman, CDE B.S.E. Nyabadza instead of from fertilizer producing companies like Z.F.C and Windmill.

    5.The workers also wanted to know how CDE Nyabadza’ s sister was chosen to partner the hunter in the SAVE conservancy.

    6.The employees also wanted an explanation as to why their Pension contributions were not being remitted to Old Mutual since the inception of the multi-currency system to date (21/11/2013).
    7.The workers also wanted an explanation as to why the Board is failing to appoint a substantive General Manager.

    8. The workers also wanted an explanation as to the whereabout of the 307 tonnes of wheat from Rating and MaCdom Investments.

    9. Employees were also demanding an explanation as to why management decided to buy a new generator instead of getting the one they had send for repairs.

    10. Employees were also demanding an explanation as to why management are not collecting 120 tractor trailers bought and fully paid for from Trinity Engineering.

    11. Employees were also seeking an explanation as to why they are not being paid their monthly salaries and wages when RATING and MaDom owe ARDA in excess of US$4 million.

    12. The workers also wanted an explanation of Gameloft’ s CR14 of 2008. The Gameloft joint venture was established in June 2010.

    13. The workers are also demanding an explanation as to why the Acting General Manager is using a hired vehicle when he has two vehicle allocated to him and also considering that ARDA is Bankrupt.

    These and many others were reported to the Anti-Corruption and the Minister of Agriculture, but up to now nothing has been done. ARDA estates are now lying idle as there nothing taking place. The Chairman is always in the media talking about Greenfuels, but ARDA is not benefiting from this B.O.T or Joint Venture. Some ARDA estates employees have gone for more 18 months without pay. Is CDE Made aware of this or he is together with the culprits? Several letters were written to him, but he is not taking any action.

    You can call the following estates managers and here the story of ARDA estates;
    Balu Estate- Mr Mangani-0773470930; Nandi Estate- Mr Muwungani-0779546890; Antelope Estate- Mr Nyajeka 0774378093; Fair-Acres-Mr Kache- 0775020618; ARDA Muzarabani-Mr Moyo-0773825646. There is nothing that ARDA Estates are planning for this 2013-2014 summer cropping season. All ARDA estates are now in deplorable states. It will take quiet a lot of time to revive them.

    ARDA has a management problem. Both the ARDA board and the Acting General Manager are incompetent and corrupt. Workers biggest question is why is the Minister of Agriculture, CDE J. MADE quiet? Why is he not taking action? CDE MADE, wake up and smell the coffee. You are not complementing His Excellency, CDE R.G. Mugabe. Can you please ask the Acting General Manager and his Board to leave with immediate effect. We as workers want the Anti- Corruption to investigate the above issues. We are prepared to offer evidence in all the above cases.

    The Acting General Manager’s number is 0712401884 and his name is Mr W.T. Mbona, you can also call a workers’ representative Mr Nduku on 0772433097 and confirm the above issues that are taking place at ARDA. In an attempt to unearth this corruption, we request you to publish this letter in your paper.

    ZVANYANYA KURWADZA

    ARDA EMPLOYEE.

  4. Zvanyanya Kurwadza said
    January 16, 2014 at 10:37

    ARDA BOSS NOT QUALIFIED
    This is a response to a report by Veneranda Langa, a senior parliamentary reporter of the Newsday. The report was published in the Newsday of the 16th of January 2014. The report quoted Mr Charamba’s remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, in which he said, “Muchechetere not qualified to be ZBC boss.”
    The issue of unqualified parastatals bosses seems to cut across non performing parastatals. The Acting ARDA General Manager, Mr W.T Mbona is not qualified to lead the Agricultural Institution. He holds an Institute of Administration and Commerce’s diploma in Business Administration and an ACCA qualification which he completed over a period of between 16 and 18 years. Mr Mbona was suspended for incompetence by the then General Manager, Mr Erickson Mvududu. The Board, in its wisdom or lack of it, fired Mr Mvududu and recalled Mr Mbona only to appoint him as the Acting General Manager. He has been Acting for the past five years or so now. You can confirm this information with ARDA Board Chairman, Mr Nyabadza on 0772572286 and Mr Mbona on 0712401884.
    The Acting General Manager, Mr W.T. Mbona drafted a contract between ARDA, Macdom and Rating. In this contract he used the word “gross income” to mean turn-over or sales. He failed the explain the key words in the contract and as such Rating and Macdom are interpreting “gross income” as income after direct costs of production or cost of sales. This has resulted in ARDA losing about $3.5 million dollars from the Joint venture.
    The Acting General Manager also entered into a contract with Tandarai Inn (a bogus company) and ARDA was defrauded of about $170 000. The ARDA board is fully aware of these activities but is not taking any action.
    ARDA paid for tea plucking Machines from a company in Argentina in 2004 but the machines have not been delivered up to now. Mr Mbona’s management seems to have run out ideas and leaving everything to fate.
    The workers have now gone for more than five (5) months without pay and management looks like they are clueless as to when they will pay their employees. Mr Mbona’s management accepted in a meeting with employees that they have failed to run the Authority. The question that the board has failed to answer is why the board is keeping this type of management?

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