Ex-AirZim boss ready to explain abrupt exit

Itai Dzamara

FORMER Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena says he will come back to the country soon and face those who want him to explain his abrupt departure from the national airline.


He also says he is ready to clear his name on allegations of misappropriation of pension funds at the national airline.


Chingwena, who tendered his resignation from outside the country last month, telephoned the Zimbabwe Independent last week but refused to reveal where he was.


Chingwena said he had left Air Zimbabwe amicably and couldn’t be blamed for the viability problems rocking the airline. He dismissed fears that he was facing arrest over pension funds as well as other financial aspects at the airline.


“I will be coming back to Zimbabwe soon and will face anyone who believes I have a case to answer,” said Chingwena


“My reason for leaving Air Zimbabwe was purely personal. That is all. I will not comment on those other issues about failure to run the airline and so forth. I will explain the circumstances pertaining to my faxing the resignation letter from outside the country when I am back. How can I be blamed for the viability problems at Air Zimbabwe? I will clear my name on that as well.”


In response to allegations raised by Air Zimbabwe workers that Chingwena, who was the chairman of the board of trustees for the pension fund, had withdrawn $400 million from the fund without the consent of the other trustee members, he passed the buck to the current leadership at Air Zimbabwe.


“I had long ceased to be involved in any decision making process in the board of trustees since I was appointed substantive managing director,” Chingwena said.


“These allegations that I abused pension funds are totally unfounded. I don’t want to preempt or prejudice whatever investigations are going on into these matters by implicating anyone. But I should emphasise that the current leadership at the airline should answer to these charges.”


Highly placed sources have said Chingwena is currently in Kenya and has taken, or is about to take up, a job in the aviation industry in that country.


A report compiled by Air Zimbabwe’s three workers unions and submitted to the police alleges that the board of trustees had not remitted pension money since September 2003. The report, which this paper is in possession of, says: “Also of concern is $400 million that Comarton Consultants (Pvt) Ltd reveals was de-invested by the board”.


The workers say they understood the $400 million was used on fuel by the airline.