Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga, who led the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) board since December 2013, never convened a meeting until a fortnight ago, but claimed $28 000 board sitting allowances, the court heard yesterday.
Prof Gudyanga was the only board member and never consulted the acting general-manager Richard Chingodza (41) and the corporation’s secretary Nomsa Moyo, whom he was supposed to hold meetings with, according to the Company Act.
This was exposed during cross-examination after Prof Gudyanga testified in a trial against Chingodza and the company’s acting deputy-general manager (finance and administration) Hannan Tongai Chitate (35).
Chingodza and Chitate are accused of swindling the company of $625 226, 88 after awarding themselves unapproved allowances.
During cross-examination by Chingodza’s lawyer Mr Oliver Marwa, Prof Gudyanga was asked how many people sat in the board during his tenure.
He replied: “At the time I was chairperson, I was the only one in the board, no other person.”
Prof Gudyanga was given the Company Act to confirm what the board should consist of.
“According to the Act, the board should consist of the general manager, me, the corporation’s secretary and others,” he read.
Asked Mr Marwa: “Did you have any meetings with Chingodza after your appointment?”
Prof Gudyanga said he never had meetings as a board since December 10, 2013 until two weeks ago when the board was dissolved.
Mr Marwa asked him if he was chairing a full board and the answer was negative.
“Why were you paid sitting fees?” asked Mr Marwa.
Replied Prof Gudyanga: “It’s not just sitting, but decision making. No, it was not sitting fees, but boarding fees because we did not sit as a board.
“The board is not all about sitting, but consultation and decision making. It took most of my time.”
Prof Gudyanga was shown a document reflecting that he received $875 monthly as board fees and $460 sitting fees for sitting 21 times, totalling $28 910.
According to the document, tax deducted was $5 782 and Prof Gudyanga took home a total of $23 128.
“For not sitting on the board you received this?” asked Mr Marwa, much to the amusement of the gallery.
Prof Gudyanga said he knew some of the amounts.
He refused to read out to the court the total amount he allegedly received.
The trial continues on April 25.
The prosecutor Mrs Molyn Mutamangira-Mavhondo alleged that contrary to their duties and without following the procedure, Chingodza and Chitate fraudulently awarded themselves allowances and loans amounting to $625 226,88 over a period extending June 2013 to April last year.
Chingodza, the court heard, benefited $390 985, which he awarded himself on various occasions as an acting allowance, medium-term loan, education loan, long- service award and back pay.
Chitate reportedly pocketed $234 241 on the pretext it was for his education, acting allowance and back pay.