Thursday, 1 November 2018

MANAGERS IN $20M HWANGE STORM

HWANGE Colliery Company was allegedly prejudiced of about $20 million after management failed to account for stock piled coal worth about $13 million. The coal was mined in two months.

Management also stands accused of having expropriated $6,4 million meant for exploration work, legislators heard yesterday.

It further emerged that one of the service providers at Hwange Colliery Company, Mr Shepherd Tundiya, was interfering with the firm’s operations including reversing decisions to suspend senior officials the board would have effected.


This came out yesterday when the outgoing board for Hwange Colliery Company appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development chaired by Norton legislator, Mr Temba Mliswa.

Government has since placed Hwange Colliery Company under reconstruction in terms of Reconstruction of State indebted Companies and Insolvency Act. This is meant to revive the company.

Former board acting chairperson Ms Julian Muskwe said management led by the then managing director, Mr Thomas Makore, used $6,4 million earmarked for exploration to the Western side of the mine.

“We had a ring-fenced funding for the Western areas which was $6,4 million that we got from the Government and that fund was manned by the board and was not supposed to be touched until after a board resolution.

To our surprise from the time it was deposited into the bank on 26 May (2017) the money never rested.

“The money was earmarked for exploration but never went there. We found out that when they sought for a board resolution to use it they had already started using it,” said Mr Muskwe.

“To our surprise from the 23th of May (2017), Mr Makore was getting cash advances and salaries and there were documents that showed that the housing allowance that he was entitled to, he would get it through his salary and also the company was paying him, so he was double dipping, that was when we suspended the Finance Director (Mr Tawanda Marapira.),” said Ms Muskwe.

Earlier on, chairperson of Hwange Colliery scheme, Mr Andy Lawson put the stockpile at 345 000 tonnes worth about $13 million.

“The company had a stockpile of 345 000 tonnes that represented one and half months of supply of coal to Zimbabwe Power Company.

The problem was that it was stockpiled and not delivered and the contract with ZPC requires that they only pay when they take delivery. If that stockpile had been sold it would have been worth $13 million. By this time the company had fallen behind to pay creditors and workers,” said Mr Lawson.
Another board member, Mr Edward Tome, said management failed to account for coal that had been mined by a company contracted to extract coal.

“The last half of last year, we had a mining contractor called Motor Engine, during the last half of last year there was a lot of coal produced, we did not receive revenue for that coal as Hwange, that was when we called for an audit.

That was around October 2017, we could not find closure to that issue because there was a lot of missing information from management. “We are saying where is the coal if it is not there where is the money?

“The contractor left the mine because of non payment. There was friction and these issues culminated into the non-payment of creditors, workers, schemes and we had to act. We then saw workers wives camping at Hwange,” said Mr Tome.

Ms Muskwe told the committee that the board succumbed to pressure from Mr Tundiya, a service provider.

She accused Mr Tundiya of directing that suspended Hwange Colliery directors be reinstated. Ms Muskwe claimed Mr Tundiya had given some directives to her in Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando’s office. Ms Muskwe claimed Minister Chitando did not react.

Board members also accused Mr Tundiya of orchestrating the alleged kidnapping of some members of management at the offices of Hwange’s lawyers in Harare.

“So Mr Tundiya is not part of Hwange management, neither is he part of the Ministry, but he had so much power to come to you and give directives,” asked Mr Mliswa to which Ms Muskwe replied in the affirmative. Chronicle

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