Sedco board split over Maredza fate

Godfrey Marawanyika

THE Small Enterprises Development Corporation (Sedco) last Friday failed to agree a common position on the fate of its suspended general manager, Claude Maredza.




The board also failed to agree on how to respond to last week’s article published by businessdigest saying that Maredza had been all but placed under house arrest.


The Sedco board met last Friday to deliberate on Maredza’s suspension. The board however failed to agree on the way forward, sources said.


Board members like Ethel Hlabangana had wanted Sedco board chairman, Owen Tshabangu, to issue a statement in relation to the story. However, Tshabangu shot down her suggestion.


The Sedco board suspended Maredza on allegations of breaching board limits and terms of reference on granting of cash cow loans, excessive fuel withdrawal and usage, and lack of prudence in management of the loan book and expenditure.


Maredza was suspended on full pay and has been told not to interfere with investigations or witnesses.


He was also barred from visiting Sedco without written authority from the board.


The suspension letter said Maredza is expected to cooperate with investigators while staying “at your known residential address and should be available on 24-hour notice to report for duty”.


However, other board members felt that although Maredza was suspended for excessive fuel withdrawal he had not been informed of the limits prior to his appointment in June this year.


Maredza has also come under attack from the board for availing $300 million to a Chinese delegation, a charge he has since disputed saying the funds were availed to a Zimbabwean business delegation that was supposed to go to China.


He charged that the funds had been availed on the instruction of former Small Enterprises and Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni.


In his response to the allegations of failing to collect debts from clients, Maredza accused Tshabangu of double standards.


“If we follow the old adage ‘live and lead by example’, you (Tshabangu) would occupy the invidious position sir because even after pressurising Sedco management into granting you a loan of $200 million, you still have not been able to repay the loan,” Maredza said in his reply to the board.

“In fact, you have rolled over the loan twice already and you have requested to roll it over for a third time. It is a known fact that your social station is much loftier than that of many of our debtors in small business but you expect them to honour their repayments without fail.”