Implats/Aquarius Zimbabwean joint venture Mimosa mine has revamped its tendering procedures following a massive $13 million theft blamed on finance director Nathaniel Shoko.
Management sources at the platinum miner based in Zvishavane confirmed that Shoko had been stripped of his powers to hire and fire contractors, which is believed to have led to the theft involving inflated invoices, ‘jobs for the boys’, variations on supplies purchased and received as well as payment for work not done.
All outside contractors have now been terminated. Mimosa has created FC Platinum Holdings (FCPH), run by the firm’s executive director T Nyamambi and in which Shoko has no direct say. FCPH is now in charge of all the work that was being contracted outside.
Shoko was fired several years ago after a lifestyle audit revealed that he was living above his known means and investigations were initiated, leading to the fraud being unearthed. Shoko was reportedly paid $3 million to leave the firm. He went to Marange Resources, the state diamond firm as finance manager but was part of the group of seven managers suspended for fraud. Shoko appealed to the labour court, which said his sacking by Mimosa was improper and directed that he be reinstated pending a comprehensive enquiry. The enquiry did not take place after it was decided that it could pose problems for other local directors who were colluding with Shoko, and potentially lead to the arrest of the contractors accused of fleecing the platinum miner through the rackets.
The Mimosa fraud came to light after the firm failed to complete construction of a stadium that was needed for the company football team’s CAF competitions on schedule. Inspectors from the company’s headquarters in South Africa found that the work done was below standard and the delays were caused by the contractor, New Base Construction’s failure to pay workers. Further probing revealed that millions allocated for facilities that included a hotel and relocation of householders within the vicinity of the stadium had disappeared.
However, unions have criticized the move to create FC Platinum Holdings which, on paper, is a contractor in its own right. FCPH has rehired workers from the axed contractors at reduced pay rates of $200 per month for base workers who were earning $600 previously.
New Base Construction owner Newton Basera has hit hard times, with a bus and vehicles being attached by the sheriffs to pay workers after the labour court ruled in their favour. Basera, a close ally of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, has also been kicked out of the scandal-ridden Marange Resources.
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