A BLEAK future awaits Zanu PF company Jongwe Printers, publishers of the party mouthpiece, The Voice, following the auctioning of some of its office equipment on Wednesday to settle debts.
Property that includes a refrigerator, a laptop, tele
vision set, computers and a monitor together with 13 armchairs, swivel chairs, desks and an office cabinet went under the hammer over an unspecified debt owed to ZDB Financial Services.
The Voice has been off newspaper stands since February despite an earlier attempt by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to save it. The CIO wanted to gain leverage over the paper’s editorial content in the wake of bitter intraparty bickering over the succession issue ahead of President Mugabe’s expected retirement in 2008, according to sources.
The sources say senior CIO officers handling the bid to take control of The Voice had discovered that Jongwe Printers and the paper had no financial records and were broke.
Jongwe Printers has been reeling under financial stress following the alleged abuse of a $17,5 billion loan facility from the Reserve Bank for the purchase of a printing press.
It has been tottering on the verge of collapse after failing to persuade the central bank to dole out additional financial assistance to salvage the company after consultants recommended to the board that it be shut down until it was assured of fresh capital.
Two years ago Jongwe spent a $10,5 billion RBZ loan for a printing press on an unsuitable machine that can only print exercise books. Sources said a warehouse at the company premises in the industrial area is currently full of unsold exercise books.
Jongwe’s financial troubles became apparent when a local printing company refused to print The Voice over a $2 billion unpaid debt.
Creditors have been haunting the company as they line up to have its assets auctioned off over a pile of debts.
Recently, former editor of The Voice, Lovemore Mataire, took Jongwe Printers’ board to court over his demotion and dismissal. Mataire’s lawyer, Chris Mhike, said the case would be heard in court next Thursday.
“As far as we are concerned, Mataire is still an employee of The Voice,” Mhike said.
Zanu PF information boss Nathan Shamuyarira could not be reached on his mobile to comment on the fate of the party printing company.