NetOne chief executive officer Mr Reward Kangai has been sent on three months forced leave to pave way for a forensic audit at the parastatal, amid indications that the mobile phone operator could have lost millions of dollars through underhand dealings in procurement.
Board chairperson Mr Alex Marufu confirmed the development last night saying Mr Kangai would be on full salary during his leave.
The new chief finance officer at the firm, Mrs Sibusisiwe Ndlovu – who was on probation – unearthed a number of irregularities in the manner in which finances were managed at the company.
This prompted Mr Kangai to lobby the board under the pretext that she went on maternity leave during her probation period
Mrs Ndlovu presented her findings to the board in December last year.
“In compliance with a resolution by the NetOne board in December 2015, CEO of NetOne, Mr Reward Kangai, was today (yesterday) asked by the board to go on leave for three months to facilitate a forensic audit of the business,” said Mr Marufu.
“This audit will be conducted by private forensic auditors under the direction of the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
“During this period, newly appointed chief operating officer Brian Mutandiro will be the acting CEO.”
Other board members include Retired Brigadier-General Sidney Nyanungo (deputy chair), Mrs Nancy Samuriwo, Mr Shepherd Tsomondo, Mrs Dorothy Mapimhidze, Mrs Thanks Mlobane and Mrs Georgina Chingonzo from the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.
The Herald last month exposed the irregularities that were unearthed by Mrs Ndlovu.
Mr Marufu recently wrote to Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira advising him of the terms of reference for the audit.
The auditor will be expected to look into the integrity of the payment system, collection of debts, airtime distribution system, payment of salaries and allowances, acquisition and management of base station sites and suppliers of interest such as Bopela.
“Having received the report of the CFO, the board deliberated on actions to take going forward. With the concurrence of the minister, the board decided to undertake a forensic audit,” said Mr Marufu.
He said some of the parastatal’s departments had been lax in paying their suppliers.
“Payments made to suppliers were being made with little attention being paid to reconciliations, some suppliers were paid and there was no attempt made to ensure that the services they were paid for were delivered, suppliers were being paid in advance for services that in some instances would never be delivered,” he said.
Mr Marufu cited some of the companies that benefited from the laxity in the finance department including a contract with Gemalto for the One Wallet system and Bopela that was into cellphone towers.
“The contract (Gemalto) was designed in such a way that the provider of the system earns four cents for every registered subscriber on the system, even though very few, if any, were actually using the system.