THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture yesterday heard that the current Grain Marketing Board general manager, Rockie Mutenha, was appointed without board approval.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
This emerged after former Agriculture minister Joseph Made, GMB chairperson Charles Chikaura, his deputy Basilio Sandamu, and board members Sheunesu Mupepereki, Ephraim Magugu, Ntombana Gata and Ellen Gwaradzimba and former acting general manager Lawrence Jasi appeared before the Justice Wadyajena-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.
The committee expressed concern over Mutenha’s irregular appointment after coming third during interviews.
Former television personality, Millicent Mombeshora and former Cotton Company of Zimbabwe CEO, David Machingaidze reportedly scored better than Mutenha during the interviews.
Mutenha is former Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) general manager, where Chikaura also used to be a board member.
“The board did not appoint the GMB general manager and so Mutenha was appointed illegally,” Wadyajena said.
“You might have done the appointment politically because the GMB Act says that the general manager must be appointed by the board and you are failing to produce signed board resolutions or board minutes to prove that Mutenha was appointed by the board.”
Asked by Wadyajena to explain the reasons why he had alleged that Mombeshora was not suitable for appointment because of her (negative) stint at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Chikaura failed to justify the issue before the committee.
“I cannot recall in detail what was said about Mombeshora, but the concern was about her ability to focus on the job of general manager given that she had other family businesses to run and a consultancy,” Chikaura said.
Made also denied claims that he wrote to Chikaura advising that Mombeshora was not suitable for appointment because of failing the vetting process.
Two other board members Mupepereki and Magugu also denied that the board was involved in any vetting process of the candidates for the post.
Made also denied allegations that he authorised the payment of $75 000 to Chikaura and his deputy Basilio Sandamu for working full time at the parastatal.
Sandamu is allegedly related to Made.
“I never authorised the payment. The issue was that the country was embarking on the strategic grain reserves and we had increased grain imports. We also anticipated a bumper harvest and there was a lot of work to do at the GMB and so we deployed board members to supervise each province and the activities of the GMB. It was not the chairperson and his deputy that were deployed, but the entire board,” Made said.