In the last issue we carried a story about alleged corruption in the Agricultural Development Authority (ADA). This was based on a document circulated to a number of politicians as well as the media. We, however, inadvertently forgot to mention that the reply from ADA would be concluded this month.
Here is the conclusion:
When The Insider put it to Mhlanga that what he was saying that the management notified the Board about every appointment was exactly the opposite of what the document was saying, namely that the board was not being notified of certain appointments, he replied: “This is what we do and that is why I am saying some of the things in that document are based on hearsay. It was written by someone who probably knows a little bit about what happened and maybe hears some things from someone who works here.”
Made, however, pointed out that there was an exception and this related to wives of field and estate managers.
“We have a general policy in our estates for estate and field managers. Because they are out there and they are married to professional women, we allow their wives to work but then they are also entitled to promotion. When they move to say the head office or regional office we find the problem of where to place their wives because we are saying we do not want to destroy families,” Made said.
On the question of the regional manager who was implicated in a fertiliser case, Mhlanga and Matanda described what had happened and disclosed the name of the official and the amount of fertiliser allegedly involved but pointed out that the matter was sub-judice -that is, court proceedings are pending.
Matanda and Mhlanga said as far as they were concerned there was nothing sinister about the appointment of the Administration Controller and Financial Controller.
The posts were advertised internally and candidates were selected but there was an objection from the ministry which said ADA must also advertise externally. After that the same persons were engaged. The two persons were already employed in a managerial capacity.
Matanda denied that anyone was a mere budget clerk and he did not know the financial misdemeanour the document refereed to.
Mhlanga denied that Chihande left the organisation unceremoniously. “I don’t know why some of the things were thrown into this document. You take the question of Chihande, how did it come in? I know you work for an organisation. There are some people who come in and others leave. Chihande left because he got a better job elsewhere. People come and leave, I know why some of the others left. Most people leave ADA because the remuneration is not as attractive as what they might get outside. Right now we have a problem in retaining engineers. These fellows, because of the experience we give them, at some point leave to go to work on their own or for other firms.
“We have situations like that. In the last three years or so we have had a situation where when we advertise jobs we find that those who apply are already earning much more than we are offering. So when those who we employ look outside they probably find that the pastures are greener.”
On the formation of a company in which he, his wife, Matanda, a Moyana and others were involved, Mhlanga said he could not understand how Matanda’s name had been dragged in.
“We never formed the company. That is not true. These things are mixed up very badly. What happened is that Dr (Kombo) Moyana of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was looking for a farm. We were also looking for a farm. We happened to go together. He bought the farm, near ART farm, and wanted somebody to advise him on the farming operations. He himself and his wife are directors. There is no connection with Matanda and Hall. Even if we formed a company I would not see anything wrong except if ADA sublet jobs to the company but ADA does not benefit. We help a lot of farmers. This is just mischief by the authors of that document.”
Matanda admitted that there had been problems with the Human Resources Controller regarding the promotion of secretaries but added that top management had intervened. He, however, denied that the controller had obtained cash in lieu of leave which he had not accrued. He said although this is supposed to have been discovered by ADA internal auditors, they were wrong.
“It was in fact only two-and-a-half days which they claimed had not been accrued. The auditors were wrong,” Matanda said.
Both Matanda and Made denied being related to the human resources controller one saying he came from Hurungwe and the other from the purchase areas while the controller, they believed, came from Nyazura.
Mhlanga also denied using a company car and claiming expenses for this. He said the authors of the document were probably confusing periods when he had to use his own car when he had no company car. He said between 1984 and 986 he had to use his personal car, a Mercedes Benz, because he had no company car. Then they negotiated to buy a second-hand car from the Italians and he used that car until a new one was bought for him. He admitted, with the concurrence of Made, that during the period he used his own car he have claimed over $1 000 a month as he is required to travel a lot.
“We even discussed this,” Made said, “and we reached the decision that he (Mhlanga) should not use his personal car because some people were complaining. We decided that if it meant sitting in his office the whole day it was better because people were complaining. This was ridiculous because our counterpart, the commercial farmer, can do whatever he wants yet our every decision is questioned yet from an operational point of view we need to make quick decisions.”
On the sale of cars to Hall and Jacklich, Mhlanga said Hall was never sold a car but Jacklich was. He said the case of Hall was sub-judice as he might still appear in court to face charges in connection with the car ADA is alleged to have sold to him.
The case of Jacklich, on the other hand, he said, was quite simple. Jacklich had been with ADA for more than 20 years. During that period he had always used his own car. He was also entitled to an ADA car but he was sold the car, “so he paid for the vehicle which would in any case have been allocated to him,” Mhlanga said.
Mhlanga said there was nothing unusual about Jacklich’s case and even said similar concessions were made when one left the organisation. He said if an officer who had been using an ADA car left and had no other car he could be sold the one he had been using at book value. This was entirely up to the management. Former human resources controller, Chen Chimutengwende, now deputy Information Minister, Mhlanga said, was sold the car he had been using when he left ADA.
On ADA giving jobs to his former secretary, Mhlanga said he had not given any jobs directly to her. She had resigned from ADA to form her own company and she got jobs from ADA just like other companies did.
“It was not therefore as if there was a deliberate effort on our part to give her jobs. There are certain jobs which she cannot do and at times she is the only person available,” he said.
Made, however, pointed out that following complaints it had been decided not to give her any ADA jobs at all even if she was the only one available.