3 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Cashberts Committed No Crime, Police

Photo: New Zimbabwe
Top earners in the country's parastatals and local authorities.

TOP executives at struggling parastatals exposed for earning massive salaries while their organisations teetered near collapse and ordinary workers went for months without pay cannot be arrested, Parliament heard Wednesday.

ZRP deputy director, legal services (Civil Process), Assistant Commissioner Takawira Nzombe, told a Parliamentary committee that the chief executives did not commit any criminal offences since their pay packages were properly approved.

Former Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) chief executive, Cuthbert Dube, was reportedly earning about half a million dollars while the organisation struggled with debt and failed to pay service providers, forcing members to pay upfront for medical care.

Elsewhere, suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) boss Happison Muchechetere took home $40,000 per month while workers at the public broadcaster went for seven months without pay.

But Nzombe said Dube and his fellow fat-cats had no legal case to answer regarding their salaries.

"In terms of the Companies Act, Cuthbert Dube's salary was approved by the board, which appointed him and gave him conditions of service, which conditions he actually says here are my conditions and he has a contract to that effect," he said.

"Unfortunately, when these things come out, our friends -- the Fourth estate (the media) -- write about them, the perception is that this person has committed a criminal offence. But as long as it was approved by the board, he has not committed an offence."

Muchechetere's arrest was not related to his remuneration package.

"Happison Muchechetere also was getting huge salaries of US$40 000 per month and his maids were paid by the company but his workers went for months without being paid," said the top cop.

"What we arrested Happison for was not for that salary. It was for the tender, that OB Van, which he got from China that is before the courts now. The tender procedure was it done properly and things like that?

"That's when we say there is corruption and a criminal offence that has been committed. But when it comes to salaries, our hands are tied as ZRP."

Nzombe said it was up to the Government to address malpractice in corporate governance at State-run enterprises.

The government has since imposed a cap of $6,000 for executive salaries in parastatals but there is no indication that the directive was being complied with.

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