Workers of the moribund Cold Storage Company have denied sabotaging the “British” investor approved by the government to resuscitate the ailing parastatal and said they were fully behind government efforts to revive the company as this ensured their own livelihoods.
They said this in reaction to statements contained in Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka’s court documents where he is seeking to place the CSC under judicial management.
In the documents, Masuka says that the investor, Boustead Beef, was not able to implement the rescue programme because workers sabotaged its efforts and destroyed vital company information.
He said that there was rampant corruption and unlawful dissipation of assets by some executive members, board members, and government officials resulting in more than 10 000 cattle being misappropriated.
In addition, former board members and executives allocated themselves, family and individuals various ranches and homesteads denying the investor access to these assets.
The government signed a US$130 million agreement with Boustead Beef, which was said to be a British company, in which the company was supposed to take over operations of the CSC abattoirs and ranches for at least25 years, pay off its debts and invest US$45 million in the first year.
Nothing of the sort happened resulting in Masuka telling Parliament two months ago that the government was reviewing the agreement because the investor had failed to perform.
Papers filed by Masuka in court, however, seem to shift the blame for the investor’s failure to workers.
The workers denied this and said they were fully behind government efforts to revive the company. They said the government should instead investigate the investor.
“Employees cooperated with the investor in submitting all the required information. Fortunately employees and management used personal emails (gmail & yahoo) and a record of all correspondence is there. Former managers also used personal laptops and the JM (judicial manager) is assured to get cooperation from them if its sought,” the workers said.
“The Investor, Boustead Beef, had and has absolute control of CSC affairs without interference. What the investor lacks is capital.”
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