By Conrad Mwanawashe
Former NetOne chief executive Mr Reward Kangai, who is taking legal recourse to challenge his ouster from the State-owned mobile telecommunications company, is taking umbrage over audit findings made by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) over some questionable dealings made at the firm during his tenure.
The audit report titled: “Provision of Comprehensive Forensic Investigation Services to NetOne Cellular Services” — which was instigated by the Auditor General (AG) — essentially indicated that some transactions that took place under his watch allegedly bordered on corruption.
It has since emerged that Mr Kangai has since written to the AG questioning some of PwC’s findings.
“I draw your attention to the fact that the report that is attributed to you on NetOne matters is erroneous and I believe that information was provided to the external auditors by the NetOne chief finance officer to further the agenda of supplanting my management team at NetOne,” said Mr Kangai in a letter dated June 28, 2017.
“You have a copy of the forensic audit report compiled by PwC and the report found no evidence of wrong-doing on the part of NetOne in obtaining the Firstel shares, an allegation, which was one of the central ostensible reasons for conducting the forensic audit,” he said.
Auditor General, Ms Mildred Chiri confirmed receiving Mr Kangai’s letter.
“We are still discussing with my staff on the best way forward. We could be approaching NetOne management on the issues that he raised in the letter,” said Ms Chiri.
On Firstel shares, Mr Kangai said NetOne executives were offered the purchase of shares in the company by a Government-appointed administrator in 2005.
NetOne executives bought shares in Fondaxe, which obtained some of the Firstel shares and a declaration of interest was duly made to the NetOne board.
The former NetOne boss, who has filed an urgent application to block the mobile operator from employing a substantive chief executive, is presently battling a number of allegations that reportedly happened during his stint at the enterprise.
While NetOne maintains that it paid Mr Kangai $247 000 in terminal benefits in March this year ahead of the expiry of his five-year employment contract on June 30, 2017, the latter denies having received any such payment.
Mr Kangai maintains that he is still the substantive CEO of NetOne.
“They purported to terminate my contract of employment using the three months’ notice and then we took the matter to court. In the process, they surreptitiously made a payment to me. I just found money in my bank account and I went and enquired where the money was coming from.
“Then I was told that it was coming from NetOne. I raised issues with the human resources person concerned that if the money is my terminal benefits on the basis of the three months’ notice, it is falling far short of what they had calculated,” he said.
Last week Mr Kangai filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court to block the recruitment of a new chief executive after the company flighted adverts inviting prospective candidates.
The court is yet to rule on the application.
Sources told our Harare Bureau that the mobile network operator is in the process of writing off an estimated $11 million owed by Zelco while also solving Firstel issues.
Mr Kangai said he surrendered the Firstel shares and did not make any money out of them.
Last year, the country’s second-biggest mobile phone operator, paid $7 million in penalties and fines owed Zimra.
The obligations are understood to have accrued during Mr Kangai’s watch.
NetOne is, however, showing signs of recovery, with active subscriber base rising 1,9 percent during the first three months of the year. Its bundled social media and voice package, OneFusion, is believed to be driving much of the growth. The Chronicle