BY XOLISANI NCUBE
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has dragged its four ex-senior executives and former board chairperson Cuthbert Dube to court for allegedly illegally benefitting themselves from $6 million obtained as loans.
According to summons filed by ZBC lawyers, Scanlen and Holderness, Dube; former chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere; former finance director Elliot Kasu; former head of radio services Allan Chiweshe and Ralph Nyambudzi allegedly enriched themselves using the parastatal’s funds.
ZBC, according to the court papers, accused its ex-bosses of recklessly performing their duties, leading to the financial prejudice.
Allegations are that on January 19 2010, the former ZBC managers together with Dube secured a US$618 000 loan facility from CBZ Bank for the purchase of top executives’ vehicles after misrepresenting that the loan application had been approved by the board.
It is further alleged that the top executives on May 5 2010, approved a housing loan scheme agreement with a local bank for the benefit of the top management, again without the board’s approval.
“In clear breach of their fiduciary duties to the plaintiff (ZBC) the defendants (ex-ZBC bosses) jointly and severally, working in connivance with one another carried out the business of the plaintiff in a reckless and negligent manner, which resulted in unjust enrichment of the said defendants. More specifically, the said defendants breached fiduciary duties in the following manner,” part of the papers read.
The corporation alleges that the ZBC board had approved a salary increase of 10% for Muchechetere in 2010, but Dube and the former CEO “collusively, unlawfully and with the intention to prejudice or defraud the plaintiff increased the salary by 93,869%”.
“As a direct consequence or result of the unlawful conduct by the first and second defendant, the plaintiff suffered prejudice and the 2nd plaintiff assumes liability for the same prejudice in the amount of US$89 620,60. The amount is due and owing by the first and second defendant,” the papers read in part.
In the court papers, ZBC alleges that the ex-bosses also prejudiced the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) after they allegedly under-declared their tax obligations.
“Between 2009 and 2013, the defendants recklessly and negligently failed to remit PAYE (pay as you earn) to Zimra as required by the Income Tax Act chapter 23:06. Such obligations in relation to PAYE were accumulating since 2009 and amounted to US$17 147 035.00 including penalties and interests. In this regard the first plaintiff stands to suffer financial prejudice in the sum of US$17 147 035,” the summons read.
ZBC further alleges that between 2009 and 2013, the ex-bosses failed to remit the VAT to Zimra and as at December 31 2013, accumulating arrears of US$10 759 494, including penalties and interest.
“In this regard the 1st plaintiff stands to suffer financial prejudice in the sum of US$10 759 494,” the summons added.
The matter has been set down for hearing before High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathosi.