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Unions hit back at Noic bosses … oil workers say they are ready to expose more rot

THE Zimbabwe Petroleum and Allied Workers Union (Zipawu) has hit back at National Oil Infrastructure Company (Noic) chief executive officer Wilfred Matukeni, who said in a press statement “bogus employees” were spreading inaccurate information about the firm.

The fallout over Noic, one of the country’s richest State-run firms, exploded last month after Zipawu approached the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) imploring it to investigate Matukeni over allegations of maladministration.

In its letter to Zacc, Zipawu claimed that corruption and poor corporate governance were rampant at Noic.

Matukeni referred questions to his spokesperson, who also turned down a request for comment saying the Noic CEO “doesn’t want negative publicity at the moment”.

This was after Zipawu said a forensic audit was likely to uncover shocking mismanagement at Noic.

Zacc spokesperson John Makamure confirmed receiving Zipawu’s request for an investigation into Noic.

After Zipawu’s claims, Noic fired back saying in a statement that there were no Noic staff in the group that was pushing for an audit.

In a paper responding to Noic’s statement seen by businessdigest this week, Zipawu acting-secretary-general Panganai Chiota fired back at Noic, describing its claims as  “unfounded, baseless and misdirected”. “For the record, we wish to clarify that our members never mentioned that they are employees of Noic,” he said.

“They attended the press conference in a bid to share and testify on legacy issues which arose after the company’s management short-changed employees.

“Their role is not to appear to be current workers but witnesses to legacy corruption and manipulation of procedures. They stand ready to prove the corruption or fraud and poor corporate governance activities undertaken by Noic management,” he said.

Chiota said the union was shocked that Noic had glossed over the contents of its previous statements.

He said instead of explaining to the public the circumstances around “suspicions of fuel theft, embezzlement of funds, payment of hefty allowances and gross management,” it was focusing on “trivial issues.”

“In any case one wonders what are the benefits of portraying one as a Noic/PZL employee while you are not employed in the organisation(s)? Does it earn a penny in our pockets?” Chihota queried.

He said the union was not leaving any stone unturned in the fight to expose “illegal and biassed suspension” of Zipawu president Samuel Hova by Noic to “silence the gross and poor corporate governance at the parastatal.”

“We are living in difficult times where the corrupt continue to wield more power and instead of giving up their bad ways, they continue to persecute whistleblowers through manipulating disciplinary hearings,” he said.

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