Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Telecel Zimbabwe Suspends Board Chair Over Fraud

ZIMBABWE’S second largest mobile cellular company, Telecel, has suspended its acting chairperson, Jane Mutasa following serious allegations of fraud.

Mutasa and co-accused persons, among them Telecel regional manager for Harare Charles Mapurisa and Caroline Gwinyai were arrested on the 7th March on charges of defrauding the mobile cellular company of R5.5 million (US$750 000).

The acting chairperson was suspended last Friday following an extraordinary board meeting held in the capital-Harare.

“At the extraordinary board meeting of the Board of Telecel Zimbabwe, held on March 19, 2010, the directors resolved to suspend Mrs. Mutasa as director of the company to afford her an opportunity to defend herself against the charges that have been preferred against her by the state following allegations of fraud brought to the police by the company.

“The board has also abolished the position of acting chairperson that Mrs Mutasa carried,” reads a statement in possession of our reporters

The trio have since appeared in court last week before a Harare magistrate, Don Ndirowei and were remanded in custody.  Of the three, Gwinyai is believed to be Mutasa’s personal assistant at another company called Oxygon Investments, which is believed to be owned by Mutasa.

In an earlier court hearing, Mutasa and her co-accused persons were denied bail on the suspicion that they would abscond from trial when set free.

The state case claims that on July 15, 2009 former Telecel managing director, Mr Rex Chibesa, ordered all workers to stop selling lines and airtime using manual invoices. It is further alleged that the trio disregarded the memorandum from the managing director.

Between August 26 and October 21 2009, Mutasa is alleged to have instructed Omar to request stock from Telecel stores on behalf of her personal firm Oxygon Investments. It is further alleged that Omar then instructed his junior, Mapurisa, to write the manual invoice for 30,000 seed packs (lines) valued at US$300,000 and airtime cards worth US$450,000.

In recent months Telecel Zimbabwe has been the rocked by scandals.  In February, Telecel Zimbabwe Managing Director, Aimable Mpore’s work permit was withdrawn by the government of Zimbabwe. This prompted Telecel Globe CEO, Kai Uebach to express the hope that Mr. Mpore would be allowed to continue to serve Telecel Zimbabwe.

Telecel Globe, the African unit of Orascom Telecom, is Telecel Zimbabwe’s international partner.

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