By Xolisani Ncube
A BID by one of the directors at Premier Tobacco Auction Floors (PTAF) to sue ex-employees who testified in Parliament against the company for alleged unethical conduct has attracted the attention of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture.
The workers told the Justice Mayor Wadyajena-chaired committee that they were now in trouble after they had testified before Parliament.
“You can’t be sued for whatever you say in Parliament. We want Mr Mangena here together with Mr Owen Murumbi,” Wadyajena charged.
The workers had appeared before the Wadyajena-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands and Agriculture, where they alleged that PTAF shareholders — Owen
Murumbi and Philemon Mabhena — were intimidating them for demanding their dues.
They alleged Mabhena had hired bouncers to harass farmers who raise concerns at the company.
Mabhena lodged defamation charges against the workers and a State journalist, claiming that the allegations that he had intimidated the workers were false.
The committee is investigating the operation of the tobacco sector amid allegations that a cartel was manipulating the system and externalising funds.
The committee is also interested in probing how PTAF, an international company with shareholders in Dubai, has been operating in the country after being kicked
out of Malawi for alleged questionable activities.