Hwange Colliery Company (Hwange) administrator Bekithemba Moyo has offered an olive branch to the company’s suspended senior executives after he called off corruption investigations against them, it emerged this week.
Company sources said Moyo decided not to pursue corruption investigations against the senior officials after discovering that they were part of a deadly turf war involving the axed Juliana Muskwe-led board.
Muskwe’s disbanded board indefinitely suspended seven executives, including then acting managing director Shephard Manamike as well as finance and administration director Tawanda Marapira, citing allegations of corruption.
The board at the time alleged that the two made unauthorised payments, which prejudiced the company of substantial revenue, including payments to some dodgy service providers.
It also accused senior management of diverting US$2 million, which had been set aside for development of virgin coalfields without the board’s authorisation.
However, there has not been progress in investigating them since the time that board was dissolved in October last year.
Moyo this week assigned Hwange lawyers Dube Manikai and Hwacha (DMH) to formally invite the executives for negotiations for an amicable settlement.
“The lawyer has approached some executives with a view of reaching a settlement with them. The more senior managers are however still to be contacted,” an official from Hwange said.
Moyo confirmed that no corruption investigations would be instituted against the members of management since he had realised that the allegations were part of a major smear campaign against them.
He told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that he would be seeking to close the chapter by reaching out to them for an amicable settlement.
“My plan is to agree a settlement with them but there are some issues, purely administrative issues, which have nothing to do with them,” Moyo said.
Asked if he had already instituted corruption investigations against the concerned executives, Moyo said his only mission was to heal wounds inflicted by the enervating turf war and not reopen them.
“There have been no investigations. I do not want to open old wounds. I just want to reach a settlement with them,” he said.
Obert Kondogwe of DMH also confirmed the development but declined to disclose the details, citing lawyer-client confidentiality.
“As you know, we lawyers are bound by the duty of confidentiality. We will not be able to assist in that regard,” he said.
Mines minister Winston Chitando put Hwange under reconstruction last October soon after he had dissolved the board, arguing the move was meant to set it on the path to profitability.
The company is reeling from a huge legacy debt estimated at US$352 million.
A week after its placement on reconstruction, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange suspended Hwange from trading on the bourse.