AIR Zimbabwe company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi says the corporation’s forensic audit involving her in an insurance scam was nothing, but a personal vendetta by new board chairman Ozias Bvute and Nathan Chikono for speaking out against the duo’s multi-million deals with the State enterprise.
Chikono is the finance committee chairman on the airline’s board.
Pfumbidzayi accused Bvute and Chikono of abusing their positions to benefit their companies by improperly awarding them lucrative Air Zim business deals.
But Bvute yesterday refused to answer saying he preferred responding to questions in writing on the issues at Air Zimbabwe.
He had, however, not yet responded at the time of going to print.
Her disclosures are contained in an explosive letter to Transport minister Obert Mpofu on October 21, 2013 apprising him of developments at the national airline in relation to the forensic audit into the corporation’s alleged fleet-insurance scam.
The letter was also copied to Transport Secretary Munesu Munodawafa.
Yesterday, Pfumbidzayi confirmed authoring the letter to Mpofu with the damning allegations.
“I bring to your attention incidents of conflict of interest with regards to sitting of Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd Board, which, in my view, might be a catalyst for the ongoing events,” Pfumbidzayi wrote.
She says the two immediately after their appointment to the AirZim board made changes to the company insurers and bankers by awarding the business to companies connected to them without going to tender.
“Just one week after the Board was appointed the controversial cover was moved from Navistar Insurance Brokers to Champions Insurance. Chikono, a board member and Chairperson of the finance committee, is the CEO for Champions Insurance,” she wrote.
She added: “The corporate bank account was moved from CBZ to MetBank. Bvute, the board chairperson is the Group CEO for MetBank, and this is another obvious case of conflict of interest.”
Champions in the deal stood to benefit substantially by offering the airline insurance to the tune of $10 million without going to tender.
“Champions Insurance was also given the temporary importation bond for an Embraer 145 aircraft insured value $5 million for six months and the Directors and Officers Liability Insurance insured value of $5 million over one year. In my opinion, this move was irregular for the decisions were taken without going to tender as per government policy,” she wrote.
Pfumbidzayi says despite her protestations against the “glaring irregularity and evident conflict of interest during board meetings this did not affect the implementation of the decision”.