Former Agriculture Minister Joseph Made appointed his relative to the board of the Grain Marketing Board and later ordered the parastatal to employ him, a parliamentary committee heard today.
Made appointed Charles Chikaura to the GMB board in July 2007 as chairman and Basilio Sandamu, who was then chief executive officer of the Horticultural Promotion Council, as his deputy.
Sandamu told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands that he was related to Made in that his cousin was married to Made’s brother.
Made then allegedly instructed Chikaura and Sandamu to work at GMB after the expiry of former general manager Albert Mandizha’s contract in 2014 for 18 months as if for free.
“We were working for free,” Sandamu said, but committee chairman Justice Wadyajena produced a letter where consultants, Genesis Global were hired to write a document which has been sent to the Lands Ministry now under Minister Perence Shiri demanding payment of $70 000 for services rendered by Chikaura and Sandamu to GMB.
Agriculture secretary Ringson Chitsiko said he has no knowledge of the hiring.
“That is an arrangement that I did not know about yet everything should have been done through the ministry secretary,” Chitsiko said.
“There were anomalies, but we were living in abnormal times because it is not proper for a minister to approach board members directly without going through the ministry secretary.”
The employment was a clandestine deal by Made, Chikaura and Sandamu, he added.
The committee also wanted to know how GMB hired its current general manager, Rockie Mutenha despite being the lowest scoring of the three candidates.
“The interviews were in three stages where the interviewees appeared before panellists, did psychometric tests and there was a moderation review to consolidate the score and David Mashingaidze came first, followed by Millicent Mombeshora, and Mutenha came third,” Sandamu told the committee.
Mutenha is former Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) general manager while the GMB chairperson Chikaura also used to sit on the AMA board.
The committee wants Made to testify on March 27, together with Chikaura, Sandamu, Machengete and Chitsiko. – The Source