Panic res­ig­na­tions fol­low NRZ au­dit

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Oliver Kazunga

SOME of the National Rail­ways of Zim­babwe (NRZ) man­age­ment staff have re­port­edly ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions in panic ahead of the im­mi­nent foren­sic au­dit re­port due in the next few weeks.

The foren­sic au­dit is ex­pected to re­flect what has been go­ing on at NRZ in the past five years in terms of the paras­tatal’s pro­cure­ment sys­tem, how rev­enue is be­ing col­lected from the firm’s es­tates and prop­er­ties as well as de­ter­min­ing the firm’s hu­man re­sources and staffing.

Busi­ness Chron­i­cle is re­li­ably in­formed that some man­agers at the rail­ways firm have in the past few months ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions rais­ing spec­u­la­tion that this might have been trig­gered by the foren­sic au­dit be­ing car­ried out at the ail­ing paras­tatal.

“One of the de­part­ments that have been af­fected by the res­ig­na­tions is the hu­man re­sources de­part­ment. It is sus­pected that the res­ig­na­tions have been trig­gered by the foren­sic au­dit that is cur­rently be­ing in­sti­tuted,” said a source within NRZ.

The gen­eral manager En­gi­neer Lewis Muk­wada could not be reached for com­ment as his phone was not reach­able.

How­ever, the paras­tatal’s board chair­man Mr Larry Mav­ima, who is on record as say­ing heads would roll at NRZ should the foren­sic au­dit re­port show any acts of mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and im­pro­pri­ety, yes­ter­day said those found to have fallen foul of the law would be pros­e­cuted.

“It is quite pos­si­ble that some of our man­agers might have ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of a foren­sic au­dit. If there is any el­e­ment of crim­i­nal­ity or fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­ity peo­ple still have to carry their own crosses.

“Even if peo­ple re­sign try­ing to run away from the au­dit re­port that does not mean they’re ab­solved from crim­i­nal­ity or fraud­u­lent ac­tiv­i­ties. The law will still fol­low them wher­ever they are,” he said.

Mr Mav­ima said the foren­sic au­dit was not a witch­hunt. “I must has­ten to say this foren­sic au­dit isn’t a witch hunt but we’re try­ing to cor­rect things to turn­around NRZ.”

The NRZ foren­sic au­dit, which was au­tho­rised by the Gov­ern­ment, be­gan in Au­gust this year and was one of the key pri­or­ity ar­eas to­wards turn­ing around the paras­tatal by Mr Mav­ima, who was ap­pointed in March.

“I’m not aware of the ju­nior man­agers who have ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions. But as for se­nior man­age­ment, our finance di­rec­tor (Mr Frank Bhule) has ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion be­cause he is go­ing on early retirement af­ter serv­ing NRZ for 37 years. He is now serv­ing a three months’ no­tice.

“We wish him well in his new en­deav­ours as he leaves the rail­ways; and we also thank him for the ser­vice he has ren­dered the rail­ways,” Mr Mav­ima said. NRZ has since ad­ver­tised for the post of finance di­rec­tor. The ail­ing paras­tatal is sad­dled with about $144 mil­lion legacy debt with the work­ers owed $80 mil­lion.

Mr Part­son Mbiriri

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