BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The government-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) has fired most of its top executives, including under-fire chief executive Morris Mpofu in the wake of diamond pilferage amid allegations of corruption.
Mpofu appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court early this week, facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly recommended that ZCDC should sell diamonds to a blacklisted buyer. He was released on $2 000 bail by magistrate Barbara Mateko.
ZCDC chairman Killiam Ukama said the parastatal had fired seven executives to enhance public and market confidence in the company.
“In line with the prevailing operating environment and the need to rebuild public and market confidence, the ZCDC board has resolved to make changes to management, the board has terminated contracts of employment of seven executives,” Ukama said in the statement.
The seven include Mpofu, chief finance officer Charles Gambe, supply chain executive Newton Demba, chief human resources executive Masciline Chikoore, engineering executive Andrew Murwisi and Cleopatra Mutisi, the audit executive as well as the chief security officer, likely Clement Munoriarwa, who is listed as the company’s protection and surveillance services executive on its website.
ZCDC has suffered embarrassing security breaks where cases of diamonds went missing and diamond ore was stolen, resulting in 40 employees being suspended early this year.
The board has appointed chief operating officer Roberto De Perto as the acting chief executive. Government poured close to $600 million into the diamond company since last year in retooling and equipping the diamond company so that it ramps up production.
The alleged leaks and corrupt activities at the company were said to have been the major reason why the company was failing to meet targets and attract credible buyers and partners, forcing the board to prune its management.
“The board would like to reassure its stakeholders and partners of its continued commitment to strengthen its systems and process for business continuity and realisation of its vision to becoming a world class diamond producer,” Ukama said.