BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged management of Allied Timbers to uphold good corporate governance or risk being fired.
Mnangagwa said this at the official opening of the State-owned firm’s US$125 000 boards and doors production line yesterday.
“Allied Timbers will be back on the recovery path. I urge Allied Timbers to uphold good corporate governance and observe best management practices and avoid corruption. This will allow the company to grow. History must not repeat itself with regards to how the company is run. The other leadership which was there, we removed them. So do not apply to be removed,” he said.
The company, which was unbundled from the Forestry Commission in 2003 to separate the regulator’s mandate from commercial activities, is one of the many State-owned enterprises which have struggled because of weak corporate governance and, in most cases, blatant corruption by politically-connected officials.
Last year, its top management was arraigned before the courts on allegations of corruption leading to the resignation of then CEO, Daniel Sithole, who was accused of flouting procurement procedures.
He was charged with two counts of criminal abuse of office along with the company’s procurement manager Justice Chimusaro.
Mnangagwa said government was concerned with the state of the country’s forestry plantations.
“I urge the ministers of Land and Environment to ensure that no settlements happen on the plantations,” he said.
“I am told of instances in Manicaland and Chimanimani, where trees are being cut.We also have artisanal miners invading the plantations. If they are looking for gold, this must be done outside our plantations.”
Mnangagwa pledged to support the company to secure more funds for the procurement of additional machinery.
“You did a good thing by using self-generated funds. I will support you on the US$2 million funds you need for more machinery that you said you need for you to export to the Sadc region. If you have challenges, do not fear to approach the minister and if the minister does not attend to your needs, come to see me,” he said.
Allied Timbers board chairman Itai Ndudzo said more efforts would be put in place to invest in another production line.