BUSINESSMAN and former football administrator Leo Mugabe has been receiving monthly $10 million cheques from cellphone operator Telecel in an arrangement company insiders th
is week described as curious.
The Independent this week gathered that Mugabe, who claims to be one of the founding fathers of the cellphone company, had been receiving the money for some time and has recently asked for a rise.
He has over the years fought a war of attrition with the cellphone company, agitating for a stake under the auspices of empowerment groups.
Mugabe on Wednesday confirmed that his company, Integrated Engineering Group (IEG), was receiving payment from Telecel for services it was providing.
“We are partners in the Telecel business from the onset,” Mugabe said. “All engineers in the business except the chief engineers are employed through IEG, so with that arrangement Telecel has always been paying us for the services they are getting.”
It was established this week that of late there has been resistance from Telecel bosses to paying the amount when Mugabe demanded a “raise”.
Mugabe confirmed he was seeking an upward review of the payment.
“There is nothing sinister with the arrangement and there is no problem in asking for an increase in the payment for services provided,” he said.
Telecel engineers who spoke to the Independent this week said they were not employed through IEG but had responded to vacancy adverts published in the press.
Telecel directors including chairman James Makamba and managing director Anthony Carter are currently in custody after they were last week charged with externalising US$4,5 million.
Meanwhile four Econet directors, who on Wednesday were remanded in custody to November 24 following their arrest last week on allegations of externalising nearly US$5 million, will today file an urgent chamber application at the High Court requesting a review of their placement on remand.
The directors, chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni, John Gordon Pattison, Tawanda Nyambirai and Nyasha Zhou will argue through their lawyer Canaan Dube of Dube, Manikai & Hwacha that the decision to place them on remand was “contrary to law, totally irrational and outrageous in its defiance of logic”.
They state in their papers to be filed today that they were placed on remand for offences allegedly committed prior to their appointment to the board and there was no basis of treating Antony Eastwood, who has since been released, differently from them. They will further argue that no individual consideration was given to the peculiar circumstances of each applicant contrary to the provisions of the law.
“The applicants’ fundamental right to liberty is under siege and has been grossly violated in circumstances where it is grossly unwarranted,” the court application reads.