By Nyemudzai Kakore
Grain Marketing Board chairperson (GMB) Mr Charles Chikaura and his deputy Mr Basillio Sandamu are together demanding over $70 000 in unpaid dues after they were unprocedurally imposed to occupy managerial positions at GMB by former Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made.
Messrs Chikaura and Sandamu worked at the parastatal for 18 months, before reverting to their board positions.
Appearing before the committee on Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Mayor Justice Wadyajena, Mr Sandamu, who was being evasive in his responses, only admitted to the allegations after another board member Dr Gift Machengete spilled the beans.
Mr Sandamu, in his defence, however, argued that they did not impose themselves at GMB but they were appointed to the positions by the then Minister Joseph Made, who is his relative.
“It was an offer that was made by the previous minister in view of the fact that he had instructed us to assist and we were working there on a daily basis.
“The minister noted that there were gaps that needed assistance. There was the acting general manager whom we were assisting. Once those positions were filled within an 18-month period, we reverted to our positions as board members,” he said.
Asked by Guruve North MP Brigadier-General Walter Kanhanga (Retired) if their stint at the parastatal was not against good cooperate governance in that they were only supposed to superintend, Mr Sandamu said:
“It is not as if we imposed ourselves. We were already board members and we survived on board membership fees and fuel. When you are asked whether you should be paid, what would you do?
“All I can say is, we were living in abnormal times where it is not proper for the minister to come directly to board members without the knowledge of the permanent secretary,” said the vice chairman.
Secretary for Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Mr Ringson Chitsiko said it was the first time he was hearing of such an arrangement after Cde Wadyadyena queried if he was aware of the arrangement.
“Everything should come from me as the accounting officer but that arrangement, I do not know about that arrangement,” he said.
However, Dr Machengete said he had received a request from the chairman Mr Chikaura that he intervenes in the payment process as he was once with the President’s Office.
“It is true that l was requested to talk to the Minister by Mr Chikaura since l was coming from Government, the President’s Office to see whether the Minister can do something in terms of some allowance or payments of our chairman and the vice chairman,” he said.
“At the moment, some attempt to get the compensation have been done. I received a document where they were options on how payments could actually be done from the consultant Genesis.”