Cottco bosses defy suspension order

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Cottco managing director Pious Manamike

BY TAURAI MANGUDHLA
TWO suspended Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) executives, Pious Manamike (chief executive) and Maxmore Njanji (head of marketing and ginning), allegedly stormed the company’s offices last Wednesday morning, NewsDay has been informed.

The two are challenging their forced leave and apparently seeking reinstatement and are, among other things, arguing that the Cottco board is illegal because it was not appointed with the blessing of other shareholders besides government.

Government has a 37% stake and plans to up its shareholding in the company.

The suspended officials’ actions may have violated their suspension and bail conditions and could see law enforcement agents turning the heat on them.

“They came on Wednesday morning at 8am and they wanted to go back to work, but other executives stopped them on grounds that it is the board of directors responsible for their appointments,” said a Cottco manager who requested not to be named.

“They are now arguing that all Cottco board members were selected by the government and other shareholders did not second their representatives, therefore, making the board, which they have been reporting to for a long time, null and void or illegal,” another source with Cottco said.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Cottco board chairperson Sifelani Jabangwe said he was yet to read the letter submitted by the duo, but he warned they could have violated both their suspension and bail conditions.

“I am normally away from Cottco, so will attend to their letters next week which I understand they delivered to the Cottco headquarter premises. If the two hand-delivered the letters to Cottco premises, then they breached the conditions of the leave and they also most likely breached their bail conditions,” Jabangwe said.

Zimbabwe Anti-Curruption Commission spokesperson John Makamure said: “Those are internal Cottco issues that the board chair is best placed to comment about. As for the alleged violation of bail conditions, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the courts are the competent authorities to comment on that.”

Efforts to get a comment from the NPA were fruitless at the time of going to print.

Njani and Manamike had not responded to questions sent by NewsDay by late yesterday evening.

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