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PetroTrade board dissolved on charges of poor corporate governance

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By Anna Chibamu

ENERGY and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda has dissolved the PetroTrade board over allegations of poor corporate governance.

The board members were; Advocate Tinomudaishe Chinyoka, the board chairperson, who was deputised by Zanele Dube.

The others included, Gladys Mumhure, Simbabrashe Eric Mhuriro, Ferida Matambo, former MDC Alliance MP who has now joined Zanu PF Lilian Timveous, Getrude Marabada, Godfrey Ncube and Dakarai Mukuku.

Soda told journalists Wednesday, some of the board members had already resigned following their suspension on March 9 this year.

The Energy minister, who is currently battling incessant power cuts, told the media that the board had unprocedurally appointed senior staff members without due diligence.

“On March 9, 2022, I suspended the entire board of directors for Petrotrade, which I had appointed in terms of section 11 of the Public
Entities , Corporate Governance Act on May 2021.

“This was a result of incidents that raised corporate governance issues concerns, in particular the appointment of staff. I then appointed a team to look into the matter and a report has since been submitted to my office.

“The team’s findings are that the appointment of senior staff was not done according to procedure,” Soda told journalists.

Prior to the appointment of the sacked board, the oil company had gone for five years of operating without a board.

The now sacked board chair, Chinyoka had, however, dragged the minister to court over allegations of corruption at the firm.

According to media reports, the board had unearthed rampant corruption including the inflating costs of construction of service stations, ignoring tender regulations, starting projects without signing any contracts and holding fake interviews in which the outcome was fixed.

Also, allegations being levelled against the minister and an employee at the company were that the duo would allegedly connive to swindle the firm for their personal benefit, outside the confines of the board.

The accusations are contained in court papers were filed at the High Court after the board’s suspension.

Chinyoka had raised alarm over rampant criminality at PetroTrade, which he alleged was the basis of his suspension then.

According to Chinyoka, “corrupt elements at PetroTrate had lined up to gift the country’s State owned petroleum company to a predetermined buyer (IPG of Kuwait) in corrupt circumstances involving bribes.”

Meanwile, Soda has hinted that an interim board of directors would soon be announced.