Sedco boss under ‘house arrest’

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE board of the Small Enterprises Development Corporation (Sedco) has suspended its general manager, Claude Maredza, and placed him under virtual “house arrest”, businessdigest can revea

l.


Documents in the possession of businessdigest show that Maredza was suspended on October 28 for “excessive fuel withdrawal and usage, (and) lack of prudence in management of loan book and expenditure”.


In the suspension letter, Sedco chairman Owen Tshabangu said Maredza would remain on a full salary and benefits during his suspension.


Maredza was appointed as GM at Sedco in June.


“In short, these matters relate to breach of board limits and terms of reference on granting of cash cow loans, excessive fuel withdrawal and usage, (and) lack of prudence in management of loan book and expenditure,” Tshabangu said.


“Your leave, as aforesaid, is on full pay and will be subject to the following: you will not interfere with investigations or witnesses, you will not be allowed to visit Sedco without written authority from (the) board.”


Tshabangu said that Maredza should make himself available and cooperate with investigation.


“You will stay at your known residential address and should be available on 24 hours notice to report for duty. It is important that this matter be concluded as quickly as reasonably possible and your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated,” said the letter of suspension.


Maredza has also come under attack from the board for allegedly availing $300 million to a Chinese delegation. The Sedco board was set to meet again yesterday and review the suspension.


However, according to an internal memo copied to all board members, Maredza has fired a salvo at Tshabangu saying the information they used to suspend him, which was supplied by the chief internal auditor, a S Matema, was false.


The board members include Tshabangu, Phillip Mutasa, O Sibanda, J Mbudzi, E Hlabangana and C Mutepfa.


“During the hearing I was conscious of the fact that the chairman of the board (human resources committee) Mr Mutepfa, and yourself were sure that protocol had been breached,” Maredza said.


“This was cemented by Mr Mutepfa’s comment: ‘We received this report from the chief internal auditor of Sedco. Haikona kuzorova mwana (Do not victimise the child.)'”


Maredza questioned why Mutema would victimise him if what he had done was procedural and in the interest of the organisation.


He said that evidence will prove that the informant, Matema, was deliberately “lying about the status of accounts at Sedco and the reasons are all too clear”, Maredza said.


“There has been overt and covert resistance to my administration at Sedco since my appointment.”


Maredza said that although he was willing to take it “in my stride” as this situation was not unique to the corporation, he noted that it begins to rile him when attempts are made to deliberately misinform the authorities with possible connivance “with other internal and external sympathisers and conspirators”.


On allegations of availing a loan to a Chinese delegation, Maredza disputed the charge saying the funds were instead given to local businesswomen who were going to China adding that the money was availed on the instruction of “minister” Sithembiso Nyoni.

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