SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza’s case came unstuck in the courts this week – for the fifth time – and was postponed to Monday after defence lawyers failed to appear.
P>Mandaza has been fighting his suspension from the Mirror for the past two months but he has not been able to go back to work despite winning a court order lifting his suspension last week.
Mandaza’s lawyer Joseph Mandizha said yesterday they were going back to the courts on Monday to look for a “correction or clarification order” to put the issue beyond any reasonable doubt.
Justice Bharat Patel last week granted Mandaza a court order lifting his suspension. The order interdicted, prohibited and restrained the Mirror board from holding or continuing any disciplinary proceedings or other actions against Mandaza.
However, Mirror group deputy chairman John Marangwanda served Mandaza with a fresh suspension letter based on three counts of alleged fraud outside the court. Mandaza was first suspended in October by the Mirror chair Jonathan Kadzura and Marangwanda without giving reasons.
Since then Mandaza has been struggling to regain control of the Mirror group, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror, taken over by the Central Intelligence Organsiation (CIO) using public funds.
Mandizha said Mandaza would proceed on Monday to seek court protection from Marangwanda’s action to suspend the Mirror boss again which amounted to contempt of court.
Marangwanda’s move last week disturbed other Mirror board members loyal to Mandaza, Ambassador Buzwani Mothobi and Amy Tsanga, who issued a statement saying the “re-suspension” of the Mirror founder was unacceptable.
Mothobi and Tsanga said the alleged charges of fraud against Mandaza were “clearly contrived” as the Ernst & Young forensic audit report on which they were purportedly based was “irregular” because there was no board meeting that sanctioned the investigation.
“As board members, we have also examined the alleged ‘acts of fraud’ and ‘mismanagement’ which have been levelled against Dr Mandaza by the purported (Kadzura) board,” Mothobi and Tsanga said in a joint press release.
“These (allegations) are clearly contrived and baseless, designed to create a pretext for the blatant attempt to appropriate a privately-owned business by a group persons – and their associates – who have in vain tried to act as a board.” – Staff Writer.