By Tendai Mugabe
Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) tolling manager Mr Ostern Chimedza has been fired for presiding over financial leakages at tollgates running into millions of dollars.
His dismissal comes barely two months after Zinara fired 30 cashiers for fraud and theft at tollgates.
Last year, the Government restructured Zinara, resulting in the dismissal and resignation of several senior managers.
Leaked correspondence seen by The Herald showed that Mr Chimedza’s contract was terminated on January 15.
Zinara acting chief executive officer Engineer Moses Chigonyati could not be reached for comment, while the institution’s chairman Engineer Michael Madanha refused to discuss the matter.
“This letter serves to notify you that your contract as tolling manager will be terminated on 15 January, 2020,” reads part of the leaked correspondence.
Sources said Mr Chimedza was facing a slew of corruption allegations bordering on bad corporate governance.
As tolling manager, he was reporting to former finance director Mr Simon Taranhike, who was fired on charges of corruption.
A source said Mr Chimedza was furnished with several reports of internal audits showing evidence of corruption at tollgates, but failed to take corrective measures.
It is suspected that he could have been part of the looting syndicate at tollgates, which included cashiers and their immediate supervisors, as confirmed by one of the cashiers at the Skyline tollgate.
“In particular, he did not roll out and implement effective tolling systems, leaving a porous system susceptible to theft and fraud by tolling cashiers,” the source.
“Mr Chimedza failed to act on evidence from internal audit, as well as the system provider which had pointed towards revenue leakages.
“In this regard, there were numerous recorded cases of misconduct by tolling cashiers at Skyline, Shamva and Eskbank tollgates as evidenced by variances between amounts recorded in the tolling system and the amounts that were eventually banked.
“Furthermore, he failed to supervise his subordinates in the maintenance of tolling booths, thereby falling short of expectations in terms of his job description, which alluded to the need to maintain all toll booths and plazas operationally functional in order to avoid disruption of operations, leakages and congestion.
“Mr Chimedza also failed to take appropriate disciplinary action against tolling cashiers who had excesses and shortfalls which were only picked via internal audit spot checks.”
As part of cleansing the institution, Zinara fired 30 cashiers recently after unearthing systematic scams at four tollgates involving cashiers, supervisors and police officers manning the gates.
The loot was shared with everyone involved, from the supervising tollgate controllers down to the cleaners on an agreed hierarchy scale.
Fourteen of the fired cashiers were based at Skyline tollgate along the Harare-Masvingo Highway, while the other 16 were from Dema, Shurugwi and Shamva tollgates.
The cashiers were given away by the sophisticated control system supplied by Univern Enterprises that showed videos and registration numbers of all vehicles that passed through the tollgates daily.
A mismatch between the punched registration numbers and plates on actual vehicles that passed through the gate were noted by the system, prompting Univern to compile reports for Zinara’s attention. The Herald