via Kadzura nails ex-Air Zim bosses – DailyNews Live 19 September 2014 by Helen Kadirire
HARARE – Ex-Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura and acting chief executive officer Edmund Makona yesterday said that the appointment of Navistar Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd was done without the airline board’s approval.
Kadzura was giving testimony in the trial of Peter Chikumba, Air Zimbabwe’s ex-acting chief executive officer and Grace Pfumbidzayi, former legal manager and company secretary, who are both accused of criminal abuse of duty as public officers.
Kadzura told the court that Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi were wrong in terminating the contract of the previous insurance provider, Marsh Insurance Brokers.
He said the company’s contract with Air Zimbabwe was cancelled without going to tender or notifying the board.
“As the company secretary, Pfumbidzayi’s duties were to inform and advice the CEO not to make decisions or appointments,” Kadzura said.
“There is even a letter which came from Navistar in which they were thanking Chikumba in his personal capacity for choosing them as their insurance broker.”
He told the court that there was also a scheme that they illegally conducted which approved hefty salaries and allowances, prompting him to recommend an audit that unearthed the anomaly.
During cross examination, Chikumba’s lawyer Admire Rubaya said Kadzura was being malicious against his client.
“The audit report showed that my client did not do anything wrong, instead you brought up these charges so that he does not get his terminal benefits,” Rubaya said.
Prosecutor Daniel Muchimbiri alleged that the minister of Transport did not authorise the airline to waiver tender procedures but an application was made in terms of the Procurement Act only.
The duo, through their defence counsel, argued that they were authorised by the then Transport minister Nicholas Goche to appoint a local broker but Muchimbiri maintains they were only authorised to make direct payment to an international broker.
Pfumbidzayi’s lawyer Andrew Muvirimi told the court that his client and Chikumba should be praised for saving the airline from dire straits.
“If they had waited for the tender process to go through, many airplanes would have been impounded in foreign countries because they were not insured,” Muvirimi said.
Makona said there was definite need to go to tender as irregularities into Navistar’s appointment were explicit.
He said there was no paper trail to show that due process was done in the appointment of Navistar. Charges against Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi arose last year, over the allegedly illegal appointment of Navistar Insurance.