NatPharm board members nabbed

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Blessing Masakadza

STAFF WRITER

masakadzab@dailynews.co.zw

TWO National Pharmaceuticals (NatPharm) board members yesterday appeared in court accused of failing to retire managing director, Florah Nancy Sifeku, when her term of office had passed and she had reached her retirement age.

Gerald Gore, 42, and Charles Enos Mapanga, 60, were not asked to plead to allegations of criminal abuse of duty as public officers when they appeared before regional magistrate Trynois Utahwashe.

They were remanded out of custody to September 24 on $3 000 bail each and they will be jointly charged with other board members who have since appeared in court.

Allegations are that on June 1, 2006, Sifeku was appointed managing director for NatPharm under a renewable three-year contract, which was extended starting on June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2018.

The court heard that on July 31, 2018 former NatPharm chairperson George Washaya wrote a notice of retirement to Sifeku, which also said the board had taken notice of her age and was no longer eligible for re-appointment, according to the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act, after having served the organisation for 10 years.

On November 28, 2018, NatPharm received a circular from the Office of the President and Cabinet outlining procedure for termination of public entities’ chief executives who had served for more than 10 years as guided by the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.

Allegations are that on July 18 of the same year, a human resources committee meeting chaired by Harinavamwe Chifamba was held and the issue of recruiting a new managing director was raised and captured in the minutes.

On November 30, Sifeku’s six-month contract extension expired and she reportedly continued to work without a contract and without the president’s approval of her re-appointment.

Allegations are that on January 9, a full NatPharm board meeting was held in which the two were present and they discussed the issue that Sifeku was working without a contract.

Claims are that they continued working with Sifeku knowing that she had no valid contract.

The State alleges that they negated their obligation as public officers by failing to terminate Sifeku’s employment from the position of managing director for NatPharm as she had reached her retirement age and had served for more than 10 years.

Further allegations are that due to their actions, Sifeku continued with her duties without a contract and received salaries and benefits which amounted to $631 997,75 and US$2 865,42.

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