by LISA TAZVIINGA
HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) is demanding US$272 000 from former managing director Thomas Makore as restitution for alleged shady payments made to him during his tumultuous four-year tenure at the company, it has emerged.
This came after an internal audit revealed that Makore had benefitted from monthly payments made to him without valid reasons throughout the four years he was employed by the company.
HCCL was placed under reconstruction late last year. This also follows a recent external audit by Ralph Bomment Greenacre & Reynolds which revealed serious corporate governance rot and plunder of the company’s finances on Makore’s watch.
Makore was suspended in March last year by the then HCCL board led by Juliana Muskwe to pave way for the audit, but he immediately quit his job before the probe could be completed.
Mines minister Winston Chitando, in a move largely seen as aimed at blocking the audit, dissolved the board midway through the probe and placed the company under reconstruction on the pretext that it was the only way to set it on the path to recovery and profitability.
The internal audit revealed that Makore received huge payments for his domestic workers on his monthly pay cheque, while at the same time they would get separate monthly payments from the usual HCCL payroll.
Makore allegedly received substantial amounts of money in advance payments, which he never paid back, according to an internal audit report seen by NewsDay.
The company is also demanding repayments for an unsupported “housing allowance” amounting to US$18 000 and an outstanding vehicle loan of US$73 000. In addition, Makore got US$82 000 without any supporting documents.
“Following a request by management to verify the balances due to the former managing director Stenjwa Thomas Makore who resigned on 23 May 2018, audit findings show that Mr Thomas Makore owes HCCL an amount of US$271 841,99. This includes cash advances not recovered, allowances not recovered, earnings without supporting documents and balance on a motor vehicle loan. We recommend full recovery of the amount owed and that the company stop any further payments to Makore,” the audit report read.
Cash advance payments, which have not been recovered to date, amount to US$249 443,50, including a housing allowance valued at US$114 004,80.
Vehicle loan balances that Makore is expected to pay back to the company is US$81 996, having accrued from February 2017 to May 2018.
Makore would also pay his domestic workers from the HCCL account and allegedly prejudiced the company of US$17 869,50.
Vehicle loan balances and other allowances he got without supporting documentation amount to US$72 872 and US$81 996, respectively.
Makore declined to comment, saying: “I have not seen the report so, therefore, I cannot comment. If you want anything else you can speak to my lawyer,” Makore said.
HCCL was placed under reconstruction in October 2018 after it emerged the company had become technically insolvent after years of corruption and mismanagement.