Apparently, NetOne Directors Owned Firstel, Reluctant To Pay $11m

Latest Revelation have unearthed that NetOne battles with Firstel could have been nothing but a smoke screen even after fighting through the courts to get  only $8million of the $11million, a press conference held yesterday has revealed.

The NetOne board  being led by Mr Alex Marufu has revealed that some NetOne directors, (names supplied) are the actual founders of Firstel and their resistance to pay NetOne was nothing but a case of conflict of interest, which is currently causing heads to roll at the sate owned enterprise. 

BY Toneo Tonderai Rutsito

Firstel Zimbabwe kopje plaza

Marufu yesterday said Firstel Cellular, the company that the former management owned in their individual capacities, was the mobile operator’s biggest debtor.

Mr Marufu said: “We have got a huge debtors’ book. The reason for that huge debtors’ book, as a board we are not confident that we followed what needed to be followed in order to collect the debt that is there.

“We are doing this going back to 2009, the period of dollarisation because a large part of our debtors actually date back to 2009.

“I must point out an area of concern. A large part of our debtors actually sits with one company and that company is actually owned by the previous management team in their individual capacities. I have a problem with it from a corporate governance perspective, which is why the board is coming and looking at this and say this possibly cannot be right. The amount that we are owed is as a result of management’s ownership in a company called Firstel which amounts to $11 million.”

 

Mr Marufu said they expected the forensic audit to be carried out within two months saying the Auditor-General’s Office would lead the process.

He said they also  learned that the previous management was operating dubious bank accounts using the NetOne name.

Here is his press statement

In the last few weeks, it has come to the attention of the board that several bank accounts were being operated in the name of NetOne with two signatories but without the knowledge of the board. The board will be adding this to the list of areas to be investigated.

We want to review transactions with a number of entities for evidence of fraud or irregularities. For instance, there is a company called Bopela; we understand it’s owned by a gentleman called Mr Agrippa Masiyakurima. Matters of interest with respect to this company include a deal that was signed possibly a year ago with this company to sell NetOne simcards to 500 000 Zanu-PF youths for which $80 000 was paid in advance as delivery of the service.

Of the 500 000 cards which were committed, the actual number that was delivered was less than 3 000. This obviously rang alarm bells in the minds of the board. Of the 3 000 that were signed for, they were signed as part of a weekend blitz that was launched by NetOne who went across the road and signed up a number of people. This is obviously an area of concern for us.

We also have some concerns about base stations that are being delivered by the same company called Bopela. I have not seen as an individual nor any members of the board seen any evidence of this contract having gone to tender. So we are very concerned about this. We are not only looking at this company. We are also looking at a company called Masimba Holdings, which is doing some work in terms of delivery of base stations

 

Because of the additional information that is coming, it’s necessary for us to send some more people on leave. There might be one or two people that we might have to send on leave. We are still going through the internal discussions to see if it is actually absolutely necessary for us to send additional people on leave. But we will continue to do that,” said Mr Marufu.

Nicole Madziwa

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