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Ex-Pretrotrade boss fails in challenging suspension

FORMER Petrotrade(Pvt) Ltd   boss‘s application to be reinstated as  chairperson of the board was dismissed by the court after he accused Minister of Energy, Soda Zhemu, of unlawfully suspending him pending investigations of alleged corporate governance failings.

In an urgent chamber application, Tinomudaishe Chinyoka challenged his suspension, arguing that Zhemu had acted outside his powers. He argued that the Vice President Constantino Chiwenga  in his capacity as the minister  assigned with the administration of the public entities was the one who had the authority to suspend him.

“1st Respondent has no power under the Public Entities to suspend the Board. If anyone does , it is the second respondent.1st Respondent‘s use of section 11 of the Public Entities Act to suspend the board is wrong as there is no such power in that section ,” argued Chinyoka .

However, Justice David Mangota dismissed the application by removing it from the roll  a few weeks back.

“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the application is removed from the roll with no order as to costs,” ruled Mangota.

Chinyoka questioned the suspension as he claimed to be the whistleblower in the corrupt activities happening in the company .He claims to have submitted a dossier to Zhemu on February 28 this year detailing the corruption that was being  largely initiated by officials within the company and ministry.

“In light of the discovery that the ACEO had been keeping such communication from the board, I became even more suspicious about his honesty, and when he informed the Board that there were certain payments and  that it was “critical” that they be made  I got even more suspicious.

“The requested payments were in fact not due;where the ACEO wanted  authorization to pay US$98 000 000, the information on file showed that at most , the amount due was less than US$12 000 and where he wanted  $23 000 000, we had in fact  overpaid on the contract.

“There was a project at Mabvuku where the entire construction of the service station at a cost of over US$2,800 000 had proceeded without any contract having been signed. Tender regulations were always ignored and projects started before authorization from PRAZ. There was massive theft of product in excess of 300 000 litres per year, which the ACEO routinely explained as ‘environmental factors’,” alleged Chinyoka.

He also raised eyebrows on the minister’s decision to place the company under the control of the people being accused of corruption when there is a possibility that they could destroy the evidence.

He also argued that the press statement that was issued by the minister the following day after his suspension on March 10 this year had caused irreparable harm to his name and reputation as it was structured to seem like he had been suspended for corruption.