ED sucked into messy ZBC row

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sucked into the ugly fight between the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and its suspended executive, Tazzen Mandizvidza — who has now been summoned for a disciplinary hearing by the State broadcaster.

This comes after Mandizvidza was sued by the ZBC in October — following a financial audit that was released in November 2014 and which allegedly showed that he owed the State broadcaster a whopping $1 million.

This money was said to be for irregular increments of his pay, as well as for double dipping on housing allowance, the unauthorised accompanying of delegates on trips, the irregular payment for a trip to India and irregular claiming of bereavement expenses.

Curiously, Mandizvidza had — before this latest spat — been reinstated to his position and then later promoted after reaching an out-of-court settlement with his employer, where he agreed to repay the State broadcaster.

However, he has since been placed on forced leave — without pay — after he failed to repay the $1 million.

In a new twist to the saga, it has emerged that Mandizvidza wrote to Mnangagwa earlier this year, seeking the president’s intervention in the matter — and accusing ZBC management of ill-treating him before his employer took steps to sue him.

“Sometime in January 2018, you inappropriately wrote to His Excellency, the President of Zimbabwe, without a valid reason.

“You falsely state in your letter to his Excellency, the president of Zimbabwe, that you have to defend yourself against a case where the corporation found you guilty without hearing ...

“In that letter you raised employment related grievances against your superiors and consequently undermined the employment relationship as well as your duty,” ZBC lawyers Scanlen and Holderness wrote to Mandizvidza early this month.

“You are hereby notified that the corporation intends to commence disciplinary action against you in terms of the ZBC employment code of conduct (2018) for breach of clause 11.25 — namely an Act 6, conduct or omission grossly inconsistent with fulfilment of express or implied conditions of one’s contract,” the lawyers added.

Mandizvidza was first suspended in 2014 following a KPMG audit which revealed that the State broadcaster had lost millions as a result of suspicious benefits and allowances scandal involving its executives — who included former chief executive Happison Muchechetere.

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