Masimirembwa bounces back

HARARE - Godwills Masimirembwa, the former chairperson of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (Zmdc), has been appointed chairperson of the Central Mechanical Equipment Department (Cmed) board.

Obert Mpofu, the Transport and Infrastructural Development minister, announced yesterday that Masimirembwa would chair the new Cmed board, that also consists of Seymour Mpofu (deputy chair), Chipiwa Pasipamire, Sihle Khabo, Tinotenda Nhende, Phinias Lugube, Tedious Chinyanga and Rita Likukuma.

Mpofu said he had faith in the new board to deliver on Cmed’s mandate and revive the company.

Masimirembwa grabbed headlines last year after President Robert Mugabe claimed he had tried to extort $6 million from Ghanaian investors who were mining in Chiadzwa.

Mugabe later exonerated Masimirembwa during his 90th birthday interview with State TV, saying the Ghanaian executives had lied to him.

Asked about his come-back on the backdrop of a bribery storm, Masimirembwa said: “It is up to the executive and the honourable minister to appoint. But I am sure the minister, with the approval of the president, has seen it fit for me to be part of this team and to lead it.”

Mpofu said he expected the board to grow Cmed business and kill the dependency syndrome on treasury.

“As a private company, I expect the board to exhibit a business-like culture, making strategic business decisions to grow the organisation,” Mpofu said.

“Instead of reliance on treasury support, government expects you to plough back because I want to believe that the reason government commercialised the entity was to make it viable and profitable.”

Mpofu said Cmed will be entrusted with phasing out commuter omnibuses (kombis).

“In addition to the current mandate and as part of your immediate task, I am directing you to get involved in public transportation and in particular urban public transportation as part of government thrust to curtail challenges facing urban passengers,” he said.

His ministry will not ban kombis but Mpofu hopes that buses that will be introduced will throw kombi operators out of business.

“Rumours are circulating that kombis will be banned,” Mpofu said.

“No one will ban kombis, but the competition from the buses will put them out of business. Government has tried in the past to use all sorts of instruments to deal with the carnage on the roads but nothing has worked.”

Turning to the $3 million saga that has rocked Cmed in which the company’s former loss control manager Pinai Chigogo accused managing director Davison Mhaka of awarding a briefcase company, First Oil, the tender to supply $3 million worth of fuel without going to tender, Mpofu said: “It is known who took the money. We know their business premise addresses and we expect them to pay up. If they don’t, the law will take its course.”

Cmed received a $3 million loan from a local bank and paid for four million litres of diesel to an unnamed international oil supplier in a sleazy and intricate fuel procurement deal that also involved an indigenous firm, First Oil, but the suppliers failed to deliver.

Meanwhile, Mpofu also appointed the board of the National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ), which will be chaired by Alvord Mabhena.

Board members include retired brigadier general David Chiweza (deputy chairperson), Joseph Mashika, Erick Makarimayi, Nomathemba Ndlovu, Chrystosoma Kanjoma and Angeline Karonga.

“I expect this board to develop strategies that minimise the need for retrenchment and increase the business of NRZ,” Mpofu said.

The NRZ wants to retrench 6 000 workers — about 86 percent of its workforce — to cut running costs and is looking to raise $260 million to re-capitalise the parastatal and avert job losses.

“Let me state outright that reliance on treasury for financial support is not feasible at this point in time in our economy,” Mpofu said.

Comments (1)

makadya mese $6million mpofu namasimirembwa. indeed yu must all be smiling all the way to the bank having mustered the art of ingratiating sekuru

mboko dzevanhu - 12 June 2014

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