ZBC seeks to engage accounting experts in ex-directors’ trial

BY CHARLES LAITON

THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has approached the High Court seeking permission to engage the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) chief executive officer, Gloria Zvaravanhu’s expertise, in the ongoing $6 million civil trial involving the public broadcaster’s former top bosses.

Former ZBC board chairperson Cuthbert Dube, chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere, ex-finance director Elliot Kasu, head of radio services Allan Chiweshe and finance head Ralph Nyambudzi are being accused of enriching themselves from the parastatal’s coffers.

ZBC lawyer Rudo Magundani recently filed an application at the High Court, seeking to engage a chartered accountant to unpack the audit report which implicated the former top executives.

Magundani said ZBC suffered huge monetary losses between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2013 which resulted in the organisation failing to pay its employees’ salaries for seven months. The national broadcaster then engaged a local accounting firm, KPMG, to conduct an audit, which report was availed in July 2015.

Magundani said the report comprises 269 pages, over and above which are ZBC’s management accounts for the years 2009 to 2015.

“…. The said report implicated respondents (Dube, Muchechetere, Kasu, Chiweshe and Nyambudzi) in the said losses and corporate irregularities, pursuant to which applicant (ZBC) instructed my (Magundani) firm to institute proceedings for recovery of the losses,” Magundani said.

“It is respectfully submitted that it is appropriate for the honourable court to invoke the section (19A of the High Court Act) in the said trial because of the following reasons; the documents are lengthy, they relate to findings pertaining to the five respondents, they will require extensive examination and deliberation, it will not be convenient for the honourable court to conduct such examination and questions relating wholly or partly to accounts arising by virtue of the said audit report.”

According to ZBC on January 19 2010, the former managers together with Dube secured a $618 000 loan facility from CBZ Bank for the purchase of top executives’ vehicles after misrepresenting that the loan application had been approved by the board.

It is further alleged that the top executives on May 5, 2010, approved a housing loan scheme agreement with a local bank for the benefit of the top management, again without the board’s approval. ZBC further alleges that between 2009 and 2013, the ex-bosses failed to remit value added tax to Zimra and as at December 31, 2013, accumulating arrears of $10 759 494, including penalties and interest.

The matter is pending.

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