FORMER Agriculture minister Joseph Made has been accused of authorising the payment of $70 000 to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) chairperson, Charles Chikaura and his deputy, Basilio Sandamu for working full time at the parastatal.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The issue came up when Sandamu and other GMB board members appeared before the Justice Wadyajena led-Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, where they were being grilled over the questionable appointment of Rockie Mutenha as general manager.
Sandamu admitted being related to the ex-minister, as his cousin was married to Made’s brother.
The committee also heard that Lands ministry secretary, Ringisai Chitsiko was unaware of the secondment of the two GMB board members, despite him being the principal accounting officer.
Made allegedly instructed Chikaura and Sandamu to work at GMB, when there was no substantive GM.
“We were working for free,” Sandamu said.
But Wadyajena said he was in possession of documents proving that Genesis Global Consultants wrote to the ministry, demanding $70 000 for the services the two offered to GMB.
“That is an arrangement that I did not know about, yet everything should have been done through the ministry secretary,” Chitsiko said, telling the committee that the arrangement was clandestinely done by Made, Sandamu and Chikaura.
When MPs asked Sandamu to explain if he had not seen any anomalies in the manner things were done, he replied: “There were anomalies, but we were living in abnormal times because it is not proper for a minister to approach board members directly without going through the ministry secretary.”
Wadyajena said Made will be summoned to appear before the committee on March 27, together with Chikaura, Sandamu, Machengete and Chitsiko for further grilling over the issue.
The committee heard that Mutenha was not properly hired ahead of a former television personality, Millicent Mombeshora who attained the highest scores during interviews for the post of GMB general manager.
Mutenha is former Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) general manager, where Chikaura also used to sit as board member.
It emerged that former Cotton Company of Zimbabwe managing director, David Machingaidze came first, followed by Mombeshora, while Mutenha came third.
But the committee heard that only Mutenha’s name was recommended to Made without full board approval, as Mombeshora was recommended for the post of AMA general manager to silence her.