Sunday, 18 September 2016

NETONE BOSS SACKED

NetOne chief executive officer, Mr Reward Kangai, has been dismissed from duty and could be arrested for allegedly looting US$11 million from the mobile phone service provider through FirstTel Cellular, a company that he owns together with other NetOne executives.
The parastatal’s board resolved to fire Mr Kangai after a forensic audit linked him to several underhand performances, including flagrant disregard for procedural airtime distribution and salary payment.


Although NetOne board chair Mr Alex Marufu and spokesperson Mr John Nyashanu could not be reached for comment, impeccable sources told The Sunday Mail that Mr Kangai received marching orders last Friday.

The sources said the audit report, which contains numerous other charges, has already been submitted to ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira.
Minister Mandiwanzira was unreachable yesterday. A source said, “The board met on Friday and resolved that Kangai should be dismissed given the amount of corporate malfeasance that was unearthed by the forensic audit.

“The meeting took place after the team of auditors that conducted the exercise under the 
auspices of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office had presented its findings.

“And the draft audit report provides answers to the crucial question of why the mobile network operator has been a perennial loss-maker in a country where other telecommunications firms have been enjoying massive profits.”

The auditors were mandated to look into a number of key issues, among them the integrity 
of NetOne’s payment system, the airtime distribution system, debt collection, salary and allowance payments, acquisition and management of base station sites and suppliers of interest.

It was then discovered that several multi-million-dollar contracts had been signed outside tender procedures and with little viability assessment.

The team established that Mr Kangai was using FirstTel Cellular to market the parastatal’s products.

FirstTel’s co-owners include NetOne executives Mr Lyndon Nkomo, Ms Memory Moyo, Mr Matavire (now late) and Mr Godfrey Tarupuhwa (former finance director).

It is believed that FirstTel received US$11 million but did not provide the stated services, and Mr Kangai later tried to convince the NetOne board not to pursue the matter.

Further, Mr Kangai and his management team ploughed millions into OneWallet, NetOne’s mobile money platform, although evidence showed this was unprofitable.
The venture did not realise much revenue due to poor marketing, a non-existent agent network and system inefficiencies.
 

The auditors also discovered that NetOne entered into a US$3,7 million deal with Bopela Group (Pvt) without following tender procedures.
Bopela is owned by South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman, Mr Agrippa Masiyakurima.
 

A source said, “Kangai and his management team also awarded themselves hefty allowances running into millions of dollars without board approval despite clear evidence that the company was not operating profitably.

“There is certainly scope for criminal charges against those implicated in these illegal dealings. In any case, the institution has operated unprofitably for the most part.

“Econet and Telecel, which were licensed much later than NetOne, grew to overtake the parastatal with capital raised on the domestic market, something that NetOne failed to do.”
Mr Kangai’s mobile phone went unanswered for the greater part of yesterday. sunday mail

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