Government last week dissolved Air Zimbabwe management board and appointed Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants as caretaker administrators for the country’s airline, NewsDay has established.
Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joram Gumbo confirmed yesterday that the disbandment of the board and the appointment of a caretaker was meant to safeguard the airline’s assets.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, by their letter dated July 25, 2018 notified my office that it was not feasible to extend the protection under the Finance Act,” Gumbo said.
“Instead, the Ministry of Finance recommended to the Office of the President and Cabinet that Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd should be placed under the reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies Act Chapter (24:27).The recommendation was approved and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.”
Initially, government issued a Government Gazette dated July 27 where it had appointed three Air Zimbabwe officials as interim administrators.
The Ministry of Transport then sought the services of Grant Thornton through the approval of the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe.
Gumbo said the appointment of an administrator is provided “in the General Notice number 610 of 2018 with the duties, functions and control of the board in the companies now vested in the administrator”.
Management for Air Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Air Zimbabwe holdings (Pvt) Ltd shall remain in place, but answerable to Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants, who in turn will report to the permanent secretary.
The permanent secretary will be calling Air Zimbabwe management and the regulatory authority management teams to a meeting with the administrator at a convenient time.
The sacked board comprised of chairperson Chipo Dyanda, deputised by Pathias Chironga and members included Pascal Changunda, Lyton Shumba, Fulton Mangwanya and Dacl-Ray Rambanapasi.
In May this year, Air Zimbabwe’s acting chief executive officer Joseph Makonise requested from the Ministry of Finance an extension of the protection granted on the parastatal’s assets from July this year to 2020.
To that, the Ministry of Finance responded by stating that it was not feasible to extend protection of Air Zimbabwe assets under the Finance Act due to the airline’s failure to restructure, its non-adherence to a turnaround strategy and its progression from technical insolvency to factual insolvency.
Government announced last month that it was in the process of merging Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways so that they both fall under one board.