THE chairperson of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), Godwills Masimirembwa, is selling chickens he rears at a farm in Harare Sout
h above the stipulated government price, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
Masimirembwa, who was appointed by President Robert Mugabe to chair the NIPC last month, is selling a bird weighing about 2kg for $1,5 million when the commission gazetted the producer price at $434 567 while the wholesale and retail prices are $478 023 and $573 628 per kg respectively.
By selling at $1,5 million, Masimirembwa is way above the price for a producer.
A visit to the farm, located about 30km outside Harare, on October 30 revealed that apart from overcharging, hygiene at the property was questionable. There was no slaughter house or running water for breeding the chickens.
Masimirembwa’s workers use water from an unprotected well for the chickens and for their own consumption.
Chickens ready for the market, his workers said, were slaughtered in an open place.
“Masimirembwa started this chicken project in 2003. We have since then been using a well for the chickens and ourselves,” one of the workers said. “We have about 12 500 chicks at the moment after we slaughtered 4 500 last week. We expect to slaughter 5 000 next week.”
The workers said Masimirembwa was directly involved in the selling of the chickens, adding that prospective customers place their orders with the NIPC boss.
“He takes the orders. He accepts a minimum of 30 birds per order,” another worker said. “Our major customers are in Mbare and a restaurant in the city (name supplied).”
Efforts to get a comment from Masimirembwa yesterday were fruitless.
The NIPC boss heads a government operation to enforce price controls.
His appointment has also raised eyebrows in the legal community given that Masimirembwa is a blacklisted lawyer.
According to information gathered by the Independent this week, the Legal Disciplinary Tribunal struck Masimirembwa off the register of Legal Practitioners, Notaries and Conveyancers in March 1997 for “unprofessional and dishonourable conduct”.
He was deleted from the register by consent.
The tribunal ruled that Masimirembwa had failed to account adequately or at all to clients in respect of fees he charged for work not done or contrary to clients’ instructions.
He was also found guilty of
failing to keep proper books of accounts and misappropriation of trust funds.
According to The Herald of April 4 1997, the chairperson of the tribunal, then High Court judge, Justice Adam, awarded the Law Society of Zimbabwe costs of the proceedings in terms of the High Court tariff of fees for legal practitioners.
Advocate Erik Morris, instructed by the society, the newspaper reported, submitted that Masimirembwa had shown “a serious disregard of his clients’ interests and proper standards of competence” expected of professionals.
“All of these above show a serious or reckless disregard for the client’s interest and the proper standards of competence which should be expected from the profession and as such tends to bring the profession into disrepute,” Morris was quoted as saying.
Apart from that, Masimirembwa, of then Masimirembwa & Associates, had failed to keep proper books of accounts and to comply with the requirements of bookkeeping by-laws.
He had also practised as a legal practitioner without holding the relevant practising certificate.