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Corruption probe at Zimbabwe's NetOne

Corruption probe at Zimbabwe's NetOne

Zimbabwe state-owned mobile firm NetOne has again made headlines after two senior executives are understood to have been placed on forced leave pending the outcome of investigations into corruption allegations.

While NetOne has not issued a statement confirming the development, local media reports have quoted Chief Operating Officer, Brian Mutandiro who said he was on forced leave and "was at peace."

His colleague and Chief Finance Officer, Sibusiso Ndlovu is also reportedly on leave.

NetOne chairman James Mutizwa is on record as saying the mobile firm's "board was taking a look into the matter" with a view that "closure would be brought in" as soon as possible.

On Friday 8 February sources at NetOne, speaking on condition of anonymity, told ITWeb Africa that the suspension of the two executives was ratified at an extraordinary board meeting held last week.

"We (were) just informed that they had gone on leave, but it came without notice," said one source.

Another said: "It's all to do with how management of the company has been handling finances over the past years; the suspension is to enable further investigations so that they do not interfere or cover up for themselves or others."

New ICT Minister, Kazembe Kazembe recently appointed a new board for NetOne and the telco has been earmarked for privatisation by Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube.

Ncube is desperate to wean state-owned telcos off the government funding list to reduce state expenditure.

Meanwhile the trial of former ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira started this week in Harare.

Mandiwanzira is accused of corruption and undue influence regarding a tender for auditing services issued to a South African company Megawatt, without fulfilling due process.

Mandiwanzira's lawyer Tembinkosi Magwaliba said Megawatt offered the services for free - although former executives at NetOne insist that Megawatt invoiced the telco US$4-million for the audit.

"The deal was for Megawatt to do the audit for free, and the accused person as the then minister of was engaged by Megawatt and then he was dragged to court to answer for the fraud allegations," said Magwaliba.

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