via Muchechetere in fresh cash scandal – DailyNews Live by Bridget Mananavire 9 FEBRUARY 2014
Suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief executive officer, Happison Muchechetere, who stands accused of plundering the bankrupt broadcaster through obscene salaries and allowances, reportedly paid himself $90 000 in yearly bonuses.
Between 2009 and 2012, according to a salary schedule seen by the Daily News on Sunday, ZBC ran a payroll of over $900 000 a month, with the rest of the workers taking home $600 000 while Muchechetere and his colleagues took the remainder after salary increments.
Documents seen by this paper show that the increments were done without the approval of the board while Muchechetere illegally approved salaries for his managers.
The documents also show that Muchechetere’s huge salary and allowances were approved by fired board chairman Cuthbert Dube.
The salary schedule indicates that Muchechetere was personally taking home $22 500 per quarter in bonuses, although ZBC never made any money to sustain the bonus payments for the CEO.
This was 12,5 percent of his annual basic salary. Muchechetere’s quarterly bonuses came at a time ZBC was wallowing in a $40 million debt and was failing to pay workers.
What has alarmed government is that like in the case of ZBC, top managers at State-controlled public enterprises, in connivance with their different boards awarded themselves huge allowances inflated to make up for their lower salaries.
This meant the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) lost revenue in terms of Pay As You Earn (Paye) and indications are that the revenue authority is now investigating the tax evasion scandal.
Information minister, Jonathan Moyo was forced to dismiss the entire ZBC board and send Muchechetere on forced leave after he failed to draft a turnaround strategy for the corporation.
Muchechetere was reportedly taking home a package of up to $40 000 from a company whose monthly revenues top $275 000 per month, against a budget of $2,3 million of which about $1 million should go to salaries.
In a bid to bring sanity to the State broadcaster’s salary wage bill, government slashed the salaries of employees saying the wage bill was not sustainable.
Salaries for all employees were reverted back to those approved by the ZBC board in 2010, with Moyo arguing the current salaries had been single-handedly approved by embattled former board chairperson Dube without the knowledge of the full board.
Acres of newspaper space have been filled with details of how Muchechetere, and three others in the public broadcaster’s top echelons, received housing loans of about $200 000 each along with various other generous hefty allowances.
Our sister paper, the Daily News, earlier revealed that the suspended ZBC boss was embroiled in a messy $1 million scandal in which he allegedly inflated the purchase price of a radio Outside Broadcasting (OB) van from a Chinese firm.
The State broadcaster entered into an agreement with China National Instruments Imports and Exports Corporation (Instrimpex) for the purchase of the OB Van worth $100 000 and $200 000 on the real market.
The figure was, however, allegedly inflated to $1 050 000 by Muchechetere in alleged connivance with Instrimpex officials.
As the scandals rock State-controlled enterprises, the following has emerged; several State enterprises have no boards in place, some boards are not meeting at all and other boards lack the necessary skills.
Boards are often deliberately raising salaries of CEOs because the level of their allowances is linked to the CEOs salaries
There is no systematic board members’ selection and training, as a result of which most board members are not sufficiently equipped to effectively carry out their duties.
There have been calls for a commission of inquiry to look into the scandals at the loss making State enterprises.
Most of the scandals are said to occur in the procurement departments where invoices are inflated to astronomical levels.
“There is clear connivance between heads of parastatals, boards and the private to steal money through inflating invoices.
“A case in point is the ZBC issue where an OB van for $100 000 was invoiced for $1 million. This is rampant in most parastatals,” said the source.