Former NetOne Chief Executive Officer Reward Kangai has asked President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (ED) to launch a full judicial inquiry into the alleged criminal abuse of office and untested corruption allegations he has levelled against the Information and Communications Technoloigy and Cyber Security minister, Supa Mandiwanzira.
Kangai asked ED to commence a full and urgent commission of inquiry, which is the highest of its kind in the country, into the minister’s portfolio to unravel the birth and control of a cartel in the ICT sector. Kangai was fired last year from NetOne after an external auditor PriceWaterHouseCoopers completed a board-sanctioned probe into the goings-on at NetOne.
In the damning statement addressed to the president, Kangai alleges that Supa Mandiwanzira has staffed the NetOne board with his proxies, and he also makes untested allegations of corruption at Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PORTRAZ). NetOne and Zimpost were coerced into opening an account with a bank (name withheld) and depositing their cash collections with that bank.
Documents at hand, seen by DailyNews, reveal that no bank account has been opened by any parastatal under the minister’s tenure with the specific bank. A senior official at PORTRAZ said no bank account had been opened with the bank dating to as far as 2011. Kangai also alleged that NetOne and TelOne were making weekly payments of $100 000 to Supa Mandiwanzira.
NetOne current CEO Brian Mutandiro rubbished these claims, as well as Melody Harry who is TelOne’s corporate communications head. The latter went on to say that TelOne’s financial records are public and that they had not appointed Kangai as their spokesperson, hence the claims were unfounded.
Kangai also alleges that Mandiwanzira hired family members into the NetOne management and board without due process, going as far as alleging the Grace Mugabe overrode the need for State security vetting of the appointments. He alleged that the appointment of Obvious Bvute as PORTRAZ board chairman was not cleared by the Central Intelligence Organisation, with the appointment being based on the former First Lady.
Again, documents at hand show that Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the President, cleared the appointment on March 21 2016 in a letter addressed to Mandiwanzira stating that the due process had been followed. His allegations first surfaced in 2016 by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) when Kangai was fired as CEO. ZACC made some investigations and forced some management to surrender an array of documents. On 3 January 2018, ZACC pounced on Mutandiro and the Chief Finance Officer with the intention of arresting them.
The re-structuring at NetOne was meant to supplant the management with the minister’s proxies, Kangai alleges. Kangai even alleges that Mutandiro, who took over from him as CEO, is related to Mandiwanzira. Prior to this, the relations between Kangai and Mutandiro were not sour. These allegations are not new, as they first came to light two years ago.
Supa Mandiwanzira has filed a $7 million defamation lawsuit accusing Kangai of libel (a false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person) over the scathing allegations he has repeated to Mnangagwa. Mandiwanzira says these are “vicious lies” against him but Kangai has refused to retract his statements.
It is said Mandiwanzira is caught up in the factional fights, but it is not clear which faction he belongs to.
Ironically, it is Kangai himself who is also mired in corrupt activities. Mandiwanzira’s lawyer claimed that what has prompted Kangai to make these allegations is that he is also seeking to avoid to jail. A forensic audit revealed Kangai’s corrupt activities in which contractors were assisted in tax evasion schemes and circumvention of State Procurement Board requirements in construction of base stations without going to tender.
Kangai has recommended that the government urgently undertakes to dissolve the board of directors of NetOne, send key management on forced leave pending outcome of the investigations by a commission of inquiry.
Kangai claimed there was abuse of the USF in loans being advanced to bodies like Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) — the football governing body in Zimbabwe — not intended for the purpose for which USF was established.
The funding to the football body was approved by Mnangagwa himself when he was acting president in January last year, unveiling a $1 million sponsorship package to the senior national football team ahead of their departure for Cameroon for the Afcon sojourn.
From Daily News