Air Zimbabwe's (UM) newly appointed board has begun to wield the axe on deadwood found following the preliminary results of an audit which revealed "some" irregularities at the parastatal.
Senior staff who have been sent of forced leave are the general manager for finance, Mr Nicholas Munjeri, general manager technical services, Mr Cephas Tarenyika, and general manager for Air Zimbabwe Passenger Services, Mr Moses Mapanda.
“The three are the most senior that have been sent on forced leave but there are also junior staffers in the procurement and accounts departments that have also been suspended. There is an audit that is currently underway and we understand the preliminary findings have formed the basis of these people being sent on forced leave,” the sources said.
Source [The Herald]
However, Air Zimbabwe acting general manager, Mr Innocent Mavhunga, downplayed the issue saying the managers had not been suspended for alleged foul play, but were simply part of a downsizing initiative to trim the carrier's bloated workforce down from 925.
UM's new Chairman, Ozias Bvute, also added in a later interview that the Zimbabwean national carrier would complete the forensic audit of the airline’s books, started in 2009 but never completed, "to establish how the business was being run."
The most recent round of Wikileaks has also shed light on a number of murky UM dealings during the Zimbabwe Dollar/Hyperinflationary phase with revelations that the Zimbabwean government had intended to pay for the infamous three Ilyushin 96-300 deal using undeveloped platinum claims as payment. The Leak states that in return for Zimplats, the mining firm largely owned by Impala Platinum, transferring unused platinum claims worth USD150million to Russian mining firm Norilsk, the Russian Government were to have provided Air Zimbabwe with the Ilyushins, though the deal never came through. Ironically, these same platinum claims have now been subject to "compulsory acquisition" by the Zimbabwean Government under its controversial indigenisation scheme.