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Corporate Governance

Outrage over Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Spokesperson, John Makamure’s Attitude towards Concerned Citizens

Brian Kazungu

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John Makamure: Picture Credit - easterntimeszim.org

Brian Kazungu, 09/04/2021

There is outrage over Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Spokesperson, John Makamure’s attitude towards concerned citizens who register their displeasure on the way how corruption cases in Zimbabwe are being handled.

This follows his utterances on an issue involving an alleged criminal take over by Shabani Mashava Mines (SMM) of Mutumwa Mawere’s house in Mount Pleasant, Harare which was reported to the Anti-Corruption Commission recently.

In a WhatsApp conversation that Mawere shared with the Commission in pursuit of justice, he and Mutanda had expressed their concerns and doubts about the effectiveness of the ZACC on matters of critical importance to citizens and other stakeholders.

While responding to those concerns, Makamure said “I think it is unfair for you to engage in a conversation with other people on a matter you have reported and is under investigation by ZACC. Your Fred Mutanda is dismissive of ZACC, so am not sure why you reported the case in the first place.

In your own words, you are ‘testing’ ZACC. Surely, this is not the right attitude when the Commission is seriously trying to investigate the matter. You should be furnishing us with all the relevant information to aid in the investigations than entertaining conversations with people with ulterior motives.”

Some people who pleaded for anonymity in interviews with this publication on ZACC spokeperson’s utterances expressed shock on the fact that Makamure would expect concerned citizens to come to the Anti-Corruption Commission in a ‘praise and worship’ mood and yet there is evidence of inefficience in this public institution.

“Why should people firstly speak gloriously of ZACC for it to attend to them when it is actually a public institution sustained by tax payers’ money? There is no need for Makamure to try and bully and cower citizens.

If ZACC is surely an efficient and effective organisation, he must actually prove Mawere, Mutanda and other people wrong through results rather than to try and recruit them into praise singers first as a condition for according them their constitutional right? One young lady queried.

One gentlemen in expressing his concerns said that there are so many cases involving public and prominent figures whose corruption charges never seem to touch the nerve of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission regardless of the existence of evidence against perpetrators.

“For example, former Minister Mupfumira, Minister Obadiah Moyo and Henritta Rushwaya have been found on the wrong side of the law because of corrupt activities and yet they continue to walk Scot-free simply because of political connections at the expense of justice.

Can you now imagine that, as a public servant whose income comes from these disgruntled citizens, Makamure displays a bully-tactics attitude that seeks to muzzle voices which puts the effectiveness and relevance of this organisation to a test.

Imagine a restaurant telling you that you cannot buy from us because your friend spoke badly of us yesterday and then asks you why do you want to taste our food when you hang around with people who don’t like us? The gentleman fumed.

In responding to Makamure’s sentiments on why he doesn’t believe in ZACC, respected businessman Fred Mutanda said “You can tell him with confidence that the reason I don’t have confidence and trust in them is because they acted unlawfully against me and got my employee killed in South Africa.

I went to the new ZACC, met the Commissioner for Investigations for him to try to look into this matter. The people who did it, who perpetrated this acts are still working for him and it has taken him more than a year to come back to me. He hasn’t yet come back to me.

So they have to be held to account. They must be held to account for what they do. When we say do go there, it’s because of what they do.”

Public trust and confidence in ZACC and many other government institutions Zimbabwe have drastically deteriorated amidst cross cutting allegations of corruption, poor governance, economic decay and violations of the rule of law.

This has in turn damaged the country’s reputation and affected people’s perception of the ability of government to turn around the fortunes of the once bread basket of Africa which is now mired in the doldrums of poverty that has pushed many citizens out of this mineral rich African nation

Mawere responded to Makamure’s utterances by highlighting the reasons why people have lost confidence in this institution that was supposed to be a pillar of good governance and of the rule of the law in the country.

“This is very unfair to me. I only shared with you so that you may know what is being said about ZACC, a public institution, by an unrepresentative person.

Who approached you with the complaint? I did. Did anyone force me to do so? No.

Like Mr. Mutanda who has gone through worse experiences than me, I was reluctant based on hearsay facts to approach ZACC.

It would be dishonest on my part to say the facts and circumstances of SMM, would be a reality if the rule of law was respected by all.

Even on my case, you would ask the question why one person clothed with public power would have the audacity to deal with a private house of another unless the perpetrator knows he can get away with it.

You may not be aware of that existence of a not-for-profit organization called Friends of SMM (FOSMM) that we both belong to and in which Mr. Mutanda is playing a key role on rule of law matters.

The members of the group under his leadership have been investigating a number of issues of corruption in relation to the SMM affair but not limited to it.

There is evidence of real state capture and many are afraid of using ZACC as a vehicle to expose these matters. The apprehension of bias is real and not imagined. I am sure that in instances where public trust and confidence has eroded so low, we have to be the change hence my taking the initiative to reach out to you.

I can speak eloquently to my experiences dealing with you. I can also speak to my experiences dealing with your colleagues. Contrary to what I have been made to believe, my complaint is now in the system without anyone asking for a bribe to register it.

I should like to believe that it only through diverse testimonials that public trust and confidence can be restored. You will be aware that I still don’t know who the specific persons are handling my case.” Mawere explained.

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Corporate Governance

Critical Analysis of Ethics and Corporate Governance Issues on the Rule of Law and Property Rights in Zimbabwe: Gwaradzimba’s SMM Management and Mutumwa Mawere’s Mount Pleasant House Case Study

Brian Kazungu

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Image Credit: SlideShare

Brian Kazungu, 06/04/2021

Recently, iniAfrica News wrote an article titled SMM’s Administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba Struggles to Provide Answers on Mawere’s Mount Pleasant House after 17 Years of Being in Charge.

In this article, it was highlightedthatAfaras Gwaradzimba, as the State appointed Administrator for Zimbabwe’s Shabani Mashava Mines which was placed under Reconstruction in 2004 was finding it difficult to explain what was happening in relation to Mutumwa Mawere’s house.

The issue which needed clarity were on why and how SMM collected rentals for a property that did not belong to it and what did it do with the money which it collected without the consent of the legal owner of the property.

In the WhatsApp chats between Mutumwa Mawere and Afaras Gwaradzimba which this paper saw, the Administrator acknowledged the mishap, promised to look into it and referred further correspondence to the company’s lawyers, Dube, Manikai and Hwacha (DMH) Attorneys.

However, in a related article published by Zimlive under the title, Mawere shops SMM administrator to ZACC over ‘illegal’ leasing of his house, Gwaradzimba is quoted as having said the following:

“I spoke to Mawere and told him I don’t know anything concerning his Mt Pleasant property, and that I would consult SMM management over the matter. I’m the administrator of SMM and not Mawere’s private property. Mawere should know more about his own property than I do,” – Gwaradzimba.

In regard to this whole debacle, here-under is a critical analysis of ethics and corporate governance issues on the rule of law and property rights in Zimbabwe using Gwaradzimba’s SMM Management and Mutumwa Mawere’s Mount Pleasant House as a Case Study.

This conversational critical analysis is adapted from a no-holds-barred WhatsApp chat between Mutumwa Mawere himself and Pharaoh Chimunoko who shared his general and business insights based on the available facts on the ground.

Pharaoh Chimunoko [12:58 PM, 4/4/2021]: Hello Sir. I been going through the threads and I appear to want to ask questions akin to what Mduduzi asked though in a different manner.         

It’s common knowledge that Gwaradzimba was extra-judicially appointed to administer the affairs of SMM and not the affairs of Mutumwa Mawere. My question is how did he get access to the personal house of Mutumwa Mawere?

Could the house, by any chance, have appeared in the books of SMM? Has it been occupied by any SMM employees during your tenure?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [1:17 PM, 4/4/2021]: I just learnt that the house was bought while you were in the USA which implies that it was not bought by proceeds from SMM and probably way back before the acquisition of SMM.

In that case the powers of the administrator to think about following the money does not hold. I don’t know how far true it is that the rentals were being channeled to the company and a trust was to be created where the rentals less admin fees would be deposited.

I don’t get it when one bulges into my safe take all the money go on to bank it deducting administration fees when I never contracted them to do such kind of work. The thought is missing me.

There appear to be less thought Vis a Vis the issue of property rights and corporate limitations.

The idea of forming a company is meant to separate the owners’ and the company’s affairs. When an administrator, who claims professionalism is championing poor corporate governance which he was employed to implement then we can say we are going nowhere.

mdmawere1 [1:18 PM, 4/4/2021]: It was always managed by myself but given that I was living outside the country, I requested Ms. Mwamuka, to assist me in collecting rentals outside the sphere of her employment.

At the time, the control and direction of SMM was under my control. The effect of the reconstruction act was to divest and deprive me of any legal nexus with SMM, the company.

Pharaoh Chimunoko [3:23 PM, 4/4/2021]: SMM has been providing security and paying rates for a house, in return collecting rentals but the administrator who is employed to oversee that there are no leakages of income to unauthorized individuals doesn’t know. I am not amused.

The nature of a reconstruction administration entails accounting for all assets and minimize liabilities. If you can assume unknown liabilities and unknown income and manage unrelated assets my mind rushes to think of incompetence.

Though without facts, the possibility of the company income going unchecked is very high and my question is; how is he faring as an administrator? Is he the right person for the job?

Since his installation, just like a Traditional Chief, how many creditors has he settled. Has the State recovered its debt? Is the company in a better position than before him? Have his fees ever been made public or he is just employed to kill off the company?

In the substance, the house issue might just be a tip of the iceberg. There’s likely to be too much mismanagement and fraudulent misrepresentation of facts at the company. Something needs to be done.

mdmawere1 [3:24 PM, 4/4/2021]: Do you agree that absent consent by the right holders, what can only follow is theft?

[3:39 PM, 4/4/2021] Pharaoh Chimunoko: Admitted. But depends on how the theft is perpetrated. It might not be an outright theft if there was a reasonable belief the house might be part of the property of the company. In that case the criminal element of the intent to deprive the owner of his house might be lacking. However the act constitute a delictual deprivation of right to property

[3:39 PM, 4/4/2021] mdmawere1: In relation to residential property, who is liable for rates and taxes?

[3:41 PM, 4/4/2021] Pharaoh Chimunoko: Obviously the owner or any person assigned by same

[3:42 PM, 4/4/2021] mdmawere1: Do you agree that for one to pay rates in relation to a residential property, one would have to do so as an agent of a known property owner?

[3:44 PM, 4/4/2021] Pharaoh Chimunoko: Unless the lease agreement stipulates otherwise, the tenant is responsible for paying rent. Where there’s any repairs to be done, he may do them but claim the cost from the landlord.

[3:47 PM, 4/4/2021] Pharaoh Chimunoko: In this case you mentioned that you assigned Ms. Mwamuka to manage the house. What needs to be verified is how she was bundled out of control of the house.

[3:48 PM, 4/4/2021] mdmawere1: Is it plausible that rates could be paid without the payer knowing of the property owner in question?

[3:55 PM, 4/4/2021] Pharaoh Chimunoko: The question of competence and suitability for the purpose comes into play. Spending 17 years managing something you don’t know. Even a mistake belief could have been verified and rectified.

mdmawere1 [3:56 PM, 4/4/2021]: I am asking whether it is possible for anyone to pay rates on a property without knowing the property owner?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [4:00 PM, 4/4/2021]: Absolutely Not

mdmawere1 [4:01 PM, 4/4/2021]: So what is your take on the veracity of the statement below by Gwaradzimba?

*****Afternoon once more. I have established that the house has always been leased out. SMM are paying the rates and receiving the rentals. However, SMM does not have the title deeds, neither do they know as to who the house is regis…*****

Pharaoh Chimunoko [4:09 PM, 4/4/2021]: I noticed it when I was reading the threads and two issues came to my mind. Either it is deliberate lie or there’s a literal rent-seeking behavior i.e. looking for avenues of getting income regardless of where it is coming from

mdmawere1 [4:09 PM, 4/4/2021]: What is Gwaradzimba saying above?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [4:13 PM, 4/4/2021]: The statement is portraying his ignorance of what is transpiring

mdmawere1 [4:20 PM, 4/4/2021]: Is he is not stating as true and fact that he established that SMM was paying rates in respect of the house?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [5:34 PM, 4/4/2021]: It’s true but his purported lack of knowledge leaves a lot to be desired.

mdmawere1 [5:37 PM, 4/4/2021]: He says he has knowledge that rent was paid. This precludes no knowledge of the owner. Do you agree?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [5:48 PM, 4/4/2021]: That’s agreeable.

mdmawere1 [5:50 PM, 4/4/2021]: If you agree, do you notice the immediate conflict in the version that admits to payment of rates and lack of knowledge regarding the owner. Do you agree that the two versions are mutually exclusive?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [6:57 PM, 4/4/2021]: The versions are conflicting. It’s like he is saying somebody had been in relaxed mood thinking that things are moving as expected then suddenly confronted with undeniable facts. The confidence dashes away and confusion reigns in

mdmawere1 [7:10 PM, 4/4/2021]: Which version should be accepted?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [7:16 PM, 4/4/2021]: It’s clear he is pretending not to know to save face while at the same time exposing himself as an incompetent administrator

mdmawere1 [7:17 PM, 4/4/2021]: Can a thief be called incompetent?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [7:19 PM, 4/4/2021]: For the purpose of his job as an administrator, Yes, But for his self-aggrandizement No

mdmawere1 [7:40 PM, 4/4/2021]: Do you agree that the rule of law permits no self-help?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [7:43 PM, 4/4/2021]: Yes I do

 mdmawere1 [4/5, 8:39 AM]: Based on this, what can you say as a conclusion? Do you trust Gwaradzimba as an honest actor? Would you hire him to any position involving public trust?

Pharaoh Chimunoko [4/5, 8:55 AM]: In respect of this he is exhibiting signs of a dishonest person. At one point he portrays himself as a professional practitioner and then he pretend to deny knowledge of what he has been doing for 17 years. He offers to verify (a good move for a professional though) what he clearly knows. His demeanor in the whole cast is dishonorable to say the least.

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