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ZBC suspends corruption whistleblower

by Staff reporter
27 Jun 2022 at 19:35hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) workers committee secretary general was promptly suspended last Friday, a day after circulating to all staff members an explosive memorandum to the Board alleging – among other charges – mismanagement and abuse of funds.

Suspending Godfrey Maregere, the Corporation's Acting Human Resources Director James Chiwera dismissed the allegations as "falsehoods".

In the Memo (see full document at bottom of article), the increasingly restive workers took aim at under-fire Chief Executive Officer Adelaide Chikunguru who was last year plucked from a public relations job at Low Veld sugar producer Tongaat Hullet to run the country's sole public broadcaster.

Speaking to newzimbabwe.com Sunday, workers committee members who did not want to be identified fearing victimisation, said morale was rock bottom, adding they would petition the Office of the President and Cabinet, the ruling party and government departments over the dire state of affairs at Pockets Hill.


They expressed incredulity at Chikunguru's oft-repeated claims that the ZBC is in rude financial health and that she has overseen an increase in revenues to billions of Zimbabwe dollars since taking over .

The boast beggars belief, the union representatives continued, given that the Corporation has failed to pay Covid allowances to staff over the past three months.

In addition, the ZBC has failed to clear huge amounts of legacy debt – including to local content suppliers – which it is now asking the Government to take over.

Reads the Memo to Board Chairman Dr Joseph Taya which led to Maregere's suspension; "ZBC employees feel let down as they have not received their Covid-19 allowance for the past 4 months and there has been no communication from the executive even after several letters from the Workers Committee.

"There were promises to pay the allowances in the local ZWL currency but this has not been done and several letters sent to the HR and the CEO's office have not been responded to.

"In a letter dated, 11 April 2022, the HR Director (A) said "due to the limited inflows of USD, Covid-19 Allowances will be paid in ZWL to the benefit of the employees," since only one payment was done to cover the arrears for the month of February. We are kindly asking for the fulfilment of the promises.

"ZBC is the only organisation which is failing to honour the obligation to pay the Covid-19 allowance, at a time when the government is paying more than double the amount ZBC is failing to pay."

Staff are also frustrated at management's dithering and excuses over a cost of living salary review due, they claim, this June.

"As per our conversation on the 10th of June, you promised that we will receive an increment as of the end of June," reads the Memo.

"Surprisingly, we had a meeting with Executive members yesterday and were told that there is no such increment this month-end. We are kindly asking your office, to intervene as a matter of urgency before the employees receive their salaries.

"The employees have since lost trust and faith in the Executive as this development came hours after a letter from the Acting HR Director, Mr James Chiwera promising and ascertaining an increment for the month of June."

Chiwera signed off the letter suspending Maregere, but the union leaders said the Acting HR director's position was one of the many cases of flagrant procedure flouting at the Corporation.

"Chiwere was employed as Head of Investments in the CEO's office. He has been at ZBC for just one month and has, therefore, not passed his probation in that role but the CEO appoints him Acting HR Director," the workers union representatives told newzimbabwe.com.

"We are also surprised that the CEO targeted Maregere for suspension when the committee has a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman.

"The suspension was un-procedural and should be lifted and our concerns addressed failing which management risks industrial action."

The workers also raised serious allegations of mismanagement and abuse of funds as well as company fuel, urging the Board to investigate. Below are some of the charges;

"Some of the grey areas raised include but are not limited to the following:

- Double dipping on fuel allocation by the executive.
- International trips T&S irregularities.
- Flouting of procurement procedures by the corporation.
- Inconsistencies in HR policy- Recruitment (Head HR and Director -Engineering posts)"



Source - NewZimbabwe