NetOne, Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile phone company has extended the forensic audit for the second time in less than a year after previous reports did not find any proof of fraud, embezzlement or theft on part of the management.
Sources said a clique of directors are not happy with the outcome of the initial report and are convinced fraud could have been committed at the State-owned firm.
The board passed the resolution to extend the audit during a special board meeting about two weeks ago.
“These endless forensic and internal audits are consuming most of management’s time and resources,” said one source who requested not to be named.
“Management is spending most of its time inundated with auditors of various forms that have seen nine audit reports being produced to date.”
Efforts to get a comment from NetOne chairperson Ms Susan Mutangadura proved fruitless.
Apart from a forensic audit, some of the internal audits undertaken in the past five months include furniture donation to the ZANU PF 2019 conference and fuel procurement.
“All these audits happened within five months from September 2019 to date.
“The board has further passed a resolution to extend forensic audit.
“The current NetOne Board could be the first of its kind to run an organisation through perpetual audits,” another source said.
Some insiders revealed that the drop in revenue in January and February was a clear manifestation of the boardroom fights that has seen chairman Mr James Mutizwa and other two board members resigning.
Revenues declined to $100 million from $107 million in December last year.
“This sad and unfortunate turn of events at NetOne may have been the dark force behind the resignation of almost half of the board.
“This has caused an all-time low morale for the dejected employees who had been promised a decent salary adjustment at the turn of the year, which was rumoured to have been ignored by the board as it was concentrating on the boardroom squabbles.”
Chief executive Mr Lazarus Muchenje and acting chief finance officer Mr Tinashe Severa were also suspended without pay and benefits over alleged incompetence.
Mr Muchenje has since approached the High Court, seeking nullification of his suspension.
Following the suspension of Mr Muchenje, the board appointed acting CEO Chipo Jaisson from second tier management and yet there are two substantive chief officers, namely Mr Gutu, chief technical officer and Mr Nyashanu, chief human resource officer.
Mr Muchenje was suspended, without pay and benefits, on February 20 for alleged incompetence and inefficiency in discharging his duties as well as negligence.
The suspension would allow for an independent investigation into the alleged conduct.
Mr Muchenje is challenging his suspension, arguing the board meeting which resolved to suspend him, alongside acting chief finance officer was irregularly convened. The Herald