THE wrangle over the $2 200 which was allegedly taken without authority from the Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (Zinef)’s coffers has taken another turn with Zinef chairman Brian Mangwende saying the transaction was above board.
By our Staff reporter
The issue raised a storm early this month when Zinef funders, International Media Support (IMS), wrote to Mangwende ordering him to reimburse the personal loan advanced to him from Zinef coffers administered by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe.
“I did not and cannot authorise an advance for myself, this was done by the majority of the board and approved by our fund administrators MMPZ following a request. Had MMPZ thought this was untoward, they would not have approved it,” Mangwende said.
He added: “For the record, I am in the process of repaying the loan as agreed. When your reporter telephoned me, she never mentioned anything to do with Zinef. I was in a meeting and told her I would call back, but after I didn’t because of other pressing issues, I thought she would have had the courtsey to call me back since it was so important, only to read the story in the paper the next day.”
But, IMS head of department Finn Rasmussen recently wrote to Zinef board members raising concerns over the alleged abuse of the organisation’s funds and demanded that the money be returned.
“It has come to IMS’s attention that an advance payment of $2 200 was approved by Zinef account holder MMPZ to Zinef chairperson Brian Mangwende,” Rasmussen said.
“IMS wishes to inform board members of Zinef that it is against IMS rules to make advance payments to board members of any organisation under any circumstances using IMS funds.
“IMS therefore cautions that this should not happen again and requests that the funds advanced as a personal loan to Zinef board chair Brian Mangwende be returned within 2 weeks and no later than 18 February 2015.
“Please note that IMS has requested MMPZ not to pay any funds from the Zinef account until this matter has been resolved.”
Zinef is a body representing all editors in Zimbabwe. It was founded by veteran journalists Geoffrey Nyarota, Iden Wetherell and Francis Mdhlongwa to safeguard the interests of local editors at a time when their welfare was under political threat at the turn of the millennium.