SUSPENDED Allied Timbers Zimbabwe chief executive Dr Joseph Kanyekanye has denied corrupt charges raised against him and has accused the company’s chairman of usurping executive authority and “acting wrongly with insufficient facts”.
Dr Kanyekanye alleges that the decision by chairman Mr Emmanuel Fundira to suspend him was misguided and politically motivated.He also made sensational claims, accusing Mr Fundira of succumbing to pressure from some senior Government officials whom he alleges had directed the chairman “to get rid” of him.Allied is wholly owned by Government under the Environment, Water and Climate Ministry
.Dr Kanyekanye was suspended on January 16 to facilitate investigation into his conduct, which borders on corruption, failure to observe operating procedures and gross insubordination. Prior to his suspension, he was on forced leave since December 10.The chairman said because of his failure to follow operating procedures and company policies, Dr Kanyekanye’s actions caused substantial loss, harm or prejudice to ATZ.It was also alleged that Dr Kanyekanye extended unauthorised, un-vetted and unsecured credit valued at $8,4 million to “related parties”, which remain unrecovered.Further, it was established that Dr Kanyekanye exceeded the $20 000 limit which he was permitted to buy items for capital programmes without going to tender and were overpriced.
The former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president has since lodged his grievances with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (the Department of Labour Administration.)“I am willing to defend these allegations notwithstanding your unethical perspective of leaking them to the Press,” said Dr Kanyekanye in a letter to Mr Fundira.“These allegations are largely your personal, politically motivated repudiation of board approved strategies and programmes that predominantly worked well to establish the company from a paper concept to a viable operation. It’s inevitable that one or two schemes may fail, but there is absolutely no corruption or acting in bad faith.“I also note that almost all issues you raised were subjected to a previous forensic audit by BDO who found no conflict of interest, no preferential treatment or prejudice to ATZ.“A similar forensic audit by Proctor in Botswana does not agree with your observations and conclusions on Botswana.”The board says the unrecoverable debts for Botswana amounts to 31 million pula. Allied used to export timber to Botswana.
“flo Mr Fundira said his board was working “purely” on information that has exposed some managerial deficiencies. He added Dr Kanyekanye alleged misconduct has resulted in him failing to meet shareholder expectations as outlined in his contract.“From the board’s perspective, we believe there were serious managerial improprieties which have occurred and from a business point of view, it is crucial to take action,” he said.“The shareholder makes demands based on deliverables outlined in a contract and if one fails to perform to expectations, the board will be left with no option but to action procedurally.”However, Dr Kanyekanye declares Mr Fundira’s “political motivated scheme” would fail.“It is regrettable that you pull in your main target and politician and alleged customer Honourable (Francis) Nhema to pander to factional Shurugwi-based political wars, which you should have spared Allied Timber Zimbabwe Private Ltd,” said Dr Kanyekanye.
It is alleged Mr Nhema, the former Minister of Environment, was supplied with treated poles. The money is yet to be paid and might not be recovered because it is unsecured.In grievances lodged to the Labour Officer, Dr Kanyekanye said the treatment he was getting from the board was unfair and violated conditions of his employment contract.On his forced leave, Dr Kanyekanye said the move had no basis at law and his conditions of service. He said the letters did not cite any relevant section of conditions of service, employment contract, and code of conduct or labour relations Act.He also alleges serious interference of day- to-day operations of the company by permanent secretary in the Ministry on Environment, Water and Climate Mr Prince Mupazviriho.“There has been relentless letters circulated to all directors where the permanent secretary Mr Prince Mupazviriho has sought to control operations of the group including the CEO reporting to him on weekly basis,” said Dr Kanyekanye.“The board must investigate and establish why the executive authority of CEO was usurped. It is my view that the permanent secretary and possibly with others have perpetuated this stance to frustrate me to resign.
I wish to categorically state that I will not resign to feed the egos of one or two people bent on apparently perverting a national institution into a personal fiefdom.“For what it is worth, I have an obligation to fight against such blatantly illegal demands coupled with insatiable and unsustainable demand for resources in a manner that is not allowable in Government.”No comment could be obtained from Mr Mupazviriho at the time of going to press yesterday.Dr Kanyekanye said the board should pass a board resolution to protect him from the conduct of Mr Mupazviriho whom he accused of expressing interest in controlling operations of Allied Timbers outside the normal framework of a private limited company.