ZBC boss in $1m scandal

HARARE - Suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere is embroiled in a messy $1 million scandal in which he allegedly inflated the purchase price of a radio Outside Broadcasting (OB) van from a Chinese firm.

Documents in possession of the Daily News show that sometime last year, the State broadcaster entered into an agreement with China National Instruments Imports and Exports Corporation (Instrimpex) for the purchase of the OB Van worth $100 000 and $200 000 on the real market.

The figure was, however, allegedly inflated to $1 050 000 by Muchechetere in alleged connivance with Instrimpex officials.

It is not clear if the cash-strapped ZBC forked out the whole cash for the van but information at hand shows the ZBC, through a deal with a local bank, paid $100 000 and the van was delivered.

Officials at ZBC now fear that either the balance was paid to the Chinese company and the difference of $900 000 was shared between Muchechetere and Instrimpex officials or the broadcaster now owes Instrimpex the huge amount for a van that costs far less. 

The Daily News can reveal the ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services has since written to the new ZBC management to ask the Chinese company to prepare a proper invoice to verify how a van worth between $100 000 and $200 000 could be charged over $1 million.

All this was done without the knowledge of the board and without going to tender.

Muchechetere is believed to have nicodemously sneaked out to China where the deal to inflate figures was sealed and a fake $1 050 000 invoice was generated on June 28, 2013 and presented to the State broadcaster as the cost of the van.

This is notwithstanding the fact that as CEO, Muchechetere was only authorised to approve purchases not exceeding $50 000, while the ZBC board approved purchases of up to $300 000, with any purchase above that requiring the approval of the State Procurement Board.

Muchechetere had indicated in a June 1, 2013 executive meeting that $450 000 was enough to purchase the OB van, a new cargo van and a new crew bus but he single-handedly travelled to China secure a deal to buy the OB van only for more than $1 million.

Minutes of the meeting, attended by Muchechetere, Tazzen Mandizvidza, the general manager News and Current Affairs; Allan Gweshe, the general manager Programming and Elliot Kasu, general manager Finance and Administration; show that the amount from BancABC was supposed to be enough for the purchase and shipment of the equipment into the country.

“The GCEO (group CEO) proposed to the meeting that since a Television Outside Broadcasting Van had already been acquired from China, the BancABC-ZBC contract meant to purchase a Television OB van should now be reviewed and instead be used to secure a new Radio OB Van, a new Cargo Van and a new Crew Bus,” the minutes read.

“He said the funding is adequate to meet the purchase of the three items.”

According to documents, ZBC had entered into an agreement with BancABC in December 2011 wherein the bank agreed to refurbish ZBC’s OB van to the tune of $495 595 in exchange for advertising airtime.

The State broadcaster, however, later decided the money from the BancABC agreement be channelled towards the purchase of the OB radio, crew bus and cargo van since they had already acquired an OB van for television.

Muchechetere went on to request that BancABC release the amount in a July 2, 2013 correspondence to the bank, which the financial institution duly did on October 28, 2013.

“According to the auxiliary agreement signed in China on 21 June 2013, a deposit of $100 000 is required to allow its shipping to Zimbabwe,” Muchechetere said.

“We kindly request that you release the $100 000 required for the deposit and the subsequent instalments of deposit in terms of the agreement.”

Efforts to obtain comment from Muchechetere were fruitless yesterday as his mobile was unreachable.

The ZBC CEO, who is currently on forced leave over obscene salaries paid to the broadcasters’ management and general mismanagement, was pampering himself with a hefty package amounting to over $40 000 a month, including a monthly salary of $27 000, as workers wallowed in poverty.

In December last year, government revealed the ZBC boss enjoyed outrageous perks which included home entertainment of $3 000, housing allowance of $3 000, $2 500 for his security, unlimited fuel allowance and wages for his maid, among other benefits.

Comments (28)

I said it before. The 40k per month scandal was just a tip of the iceberg. Its all starting to pour out... ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Funny how you can inflate the price of a $100,000 dollar article by ten times and no one notices.... Erm.. something is amiss here. You haven't gotten to the bottom of it yet. You haven't even started scraping the surface. By the way, why is he not in jail on allegations of fraud, pending further investigations? I didn't say that it because this fella must be holding some big guns by the nuts for his protection. Dont make me say it...

Kobe - 28 January 2014

Had it been Elton Mangoma he would have been locked-up already and appearing in court soon in leg-irons.We want to see what they will do to one of their own.These are the guys who purport to be very loyal to the party and the nation.No wonder why they cry for ZANU-PF to rule for eternity.Sweep it under the carpet no problem but time will come when all that has been hidden in the dark shall come to light. To conclude let me remind a few people what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "You shall have joy,or you shall have power,said God:you shall not have both.

SHAVA - 28 January 2014

Put that man in JAIL, TODAY.

manfriday - 28 January 2014

While I do not like Mugabe for his murderous ways, I feel pity for him. He has been abused by this lot fr their self gains, to be able to steal from the country left, right and centre. They have exagerated patriotism that is only good for covering their tracks apa ruoko rwuri busy in the jah. Mugabe akabva apa vanhu vachaona chamunhavatava! Takakumirira zvedu!

Tongogara - 28 January 2014

Thank you Kobe. I enjoyed reading your article. Honestly how could someone inflate 100 000 to 1000 000. Now i believe what Albert Einstein once said i quote " Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the life-long attempt to acquire it"

SHAVA - 28 January 2014

Musatarisa Happyson chete, even Cuthbert Dube mamwe maperks ake and you will be surprised.

studio77 - 28 January 2014

Did these idiots pay income tax? Zimra should start its own investigations.

connie - 28 January 2014

When will Chinamasa take a look at Pasi (Zimra) and his managers' salaries? Pasi has a fleet of cars for his personal use, dzimwe dzacho dzichitomhanyiswa nevana vake at the tax payers' expense. Some Zimra drivers are always on errands to Pasi farm or buying building material from SA using Zimra vehicles. All parastatals are run in this parasitic way and ministers responsible for them remain silent.

Nesongano - 28 January 2014

If this is all true why hasen't he been arrested? Zinbabweans wake up and see

source - 28 January 2014

Give that man a Bells!!

Guvnor - 28 January 2014

Vanotoda every dollar in this country kuti ive yavo. Havaguti vakomana ivava. Tighten your belts guys, mari yenyika yose yopera na Happison and Cashbert.

machakachaka - 29 January 2014

Arrested, why, is he MDC? We do not and shall not arrest patriotic sons and daughters of the soil? We shall only consider removing him if you remove your sanctions. Further more, if we start arresting people of his caliber we will end up with no one in the party!

Bingo Wokwa Gutu - 29 January 2014

these are possibly sanctions from the west?

zvenyika ganda - 29 January 2014

Muchechetere was at ZBC as CEO, Cuthbert Dube was in the ZBC board, ironically.

Maita Manyuka - 29 January 2014

If this country was normal, the CEO, the board and the Minister would be in jail as we speak.

Maita Manyuka - 29 January 2014

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and whither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land and verily thou shalt be fed." Psalms 37

Those that wait upon the Lord.. - 29 January 2014

"A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Psalms37

Gentile Warrior - 29 January 2014

Blve u me, the rot is everywhere. All CEOs in quasi govt insts treat their coys as feifdoms. they are deified, powerful, ruthless to workers and utterly aggrandising. As the public we really need to know the remuneration of all parastatals and what more they have given themselves in terms of unsanctioned loans. I know for fact that Zinara executives award themselves outrageous housing loans that are not approved by the board. Solution : performaance based contract for 5 yrs only and no renewal in any case. Icho ! Chati charira here, chicharira zvacho!

Charles Hondoyi - 29 January 2014

havana hanya nemunhu havambotyi Mwari varume ava haa vane hutsinye vamwe they wer wallowing in poverty apa ivo they are earning hefty salaries

tototot - 29 January 2014

Aiwa zvese izvi ndezvepasi pano , surely u will reward one day utsinye hwakadai mwari havakomboreri, people are dying everyday but not one of these scandalous people pledge to help those people on their medicals.

dewa - 29 January 2014

They are good at diverting people's attention... Are they saying the government bosses were not aware of all these...please lets wake up and face the real truth...

Pain - 29 January 2014

its time for Zimbos to move out of these online platforms and be counted as real man on the street where yu should express your outrage more than yu are doing it here. get out of your deep slumber and fight for the future of this nation.

Hondo kustate house - 29 January 2014

There we are Zimbabweans. Methinks that people employed in quasi and government institutions must be given contracts and serve for a specified period and then be retired. Does the loot they acquire get banked locally? These include parastatals, police, army etc. This feeling by CEOs that they now own the organizations which they lead is unhealthy. They have stayed in their positions and no forensic audits are done hence allowing them opportunity to loot. Do names like Chihuri, Chiwenga, Zimondi et al not sound like a broken record? When do they intend to retire?

tomasi tohwi - 29 January 2014

kuti bhora mugedhi ndokuti dhora mubhegi.

bhoramusango - 29 January 2014

the get richer at the expense of the poor hard to bliv we ever gonna ve a clean zimbabwe

ZIMBOLIOUS - 30 January 2014

It was about tym the media exposed corruption in Zimbabwe sezvairi. Expose the banks and the big cars; the private companies and the huge perks for management vashandi vachikwangwaya nenhamo. Investigate ZIMRA futi as many corporates with tax irregularities have paid someone at ZIMRA to regulate their returns. Snoop into Ministry of Local Govt. Hapana munhu mukuru asiri kuba muZimbabwe. The bulk of the loot is in off shore accounts. PSMAS Boss is said to be transferring 50 000 into a euro account every month. Air Zim insurance loot is in Europe. Nyika yeZimbabwe yangova chikoko mukati with big wigs looting. The baton stick z now with the Parliamentarians who have the mandate to hold the executive to account. Lets see how "Honourable" they will be. MPs pass the baton stick onto the Judiciary which needs to stop confusing us with fancy old English and start putting criminals in jail. Pamberi nekubvisa uwori mu Zimbabwe!!!!!

Ndichihera weGogwe - 30 January 2014

And the police and ZBC crew at roadblocks ant you to pay a listener's license for your vehicle radio! For what if we may ask? Bayete........................!

Overman Sanatorium - 30 January 2014

Cashbert and Mu-cash-cash-ere!

It shall be well in the end! - 30 January 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.