15 January 2014

Zimbabwe: Charamba - ZBC Boss' Salary Possibly Illegal

THE ministry of information has distanced itself from the malfeasances the insolvent at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation were workers went without pay for six months while managers took home hefty packages.

Speaking before to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services chaired by Member of Parliament for Umzingwane William Dehwa, Information Ministry Permanent Secretary George Charamba, said no letter was written to his ministry about the management salaries.

"There is simply no documentation around that," said Charamba who also doubles as President Robert Mugabe's spokesman.

"No single letter was referred to the ministry the parent ministry and as you know it's a requirement. There is no way in which the body can conclude perks without reference to the parent ministry."

Charamba added: "We have absolutely no communication from ZBC to the ministry indicating that this is what we propose to award to our own managers which means essentially there is absolutely no legal basis upon which to uphold those perks."

Suspended ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere earned a salary and allowances totalling nearly US$40 000 per month while workers went for more than six months without pay.

Charamba said the salary deal might have been signed by a single member of the board and without the knowledge of their colleagues.

"We have discovered that the conditions might have been awarded arbitrarily by the chief executive to his juniors were signed by a member of the board not the whole board. You don't find a resolution that this is a decision of the ZBC board," Charamba said.

Asked why the ministry did not pick such irregularities, Charamba blamed the coalition government.

"The regrettable thing is the politics of inclusivity got us to be defensive about institutions. There was a larger question about the status of the ZBC in the politics of the country," Charamba said.

"There was lots of shadow boxing that matter to a point where the malfeasances which were happening below just would not get attention."

Muchechetere, who became substantive chief executive in May 2009, has drawn salaries and allowances totalling about at US$2,28 million to date.

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