TRAFFIC Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) managing director Obio Chinyere threatened to kill one of the internal auditors who unearthed abuse of funds at the organisation.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
He also accused the audit team of plotting his ouster. The council has since dismantled the entire internal audit team after it unearthed a series of weak internal controls, which aided financial impropriety and abuse of funds.
Munyaradzi Muzire, who was part of the three-member internal audit team, was threatened with death before he resigned, Standardbusiness established last week.
According to a letter seen by Standardbusiness written to Chinyere by Muzire’s lawyers, Jarvis-Palframan Legal Practitioners, the TSCZ boss accused his subordinate of pushing for his sacking through the audits.
“Following an audit report dated 31 March 2015 which was sent to you, you on 20 April 2015 at around 09:00 hours in the morning, invited our client into the audit manager Patricia Nhutsve’s office and you fumed at our client insinuating that there was a conspiracy between the audit team and the audit committee to have you fired. The same was denied by our client. You proceeded to threaten him by saying words to the effect that, ‘if I get fired, someone will die here’,” reads the letter in part.
“These words were said while you banged the desk and looking directly at our client despite that you were seated closer to the audit manager.”
The letter said Chinyere picked a wooden valet and allegedly charged towards Muzire.
“At that moment, it is our client’s instructions that you stood up, went around the table and picked up a wooden valet [about one and half metres long] which is in that office and armed with it came charging towards our client showing all signs that you intended to hit him with same. You swinged the valet towards our client’s face and came so close to hit our client’s face to about 15 centimetres. You only stopped after our client stood up and you immediately returned the valet back to its corner,” the letter reads.
The letter said it was the second time that Chinyere had openly attacked Muzire having earlier on accused him of leaking information to board members.
The lawyers said that Muzire was afraid of his boss.
“He is well aware that the threats you issued were directed at him and the same are real. He has become afraid of doing his job properly as he may be killed given the threats you made to him, the attack and even the invitation for a fight,” the letter reads.
Chinyere responded to the lawyers blaming his unruly behaviour towards Muzire on immense work pressure.
“I do hereby apologise to the above for the unbecoming behaviour which I showed towards him. I did apologise to him after the incident and he accepted my apology. We have worked together cordially for the past five years and lately I have been working under immense pressure and that could be one of the reasons why I reacted so unbecomingly,” said Chinyere in a letter.
Subsequent to the threats, the audit team was dismantled, with personnel transferred to various stations. Audit manager Nhutsve was redeployed from the head office and now works at the council’s Chinhoyi satellite office in the operations department.
Another auditor, Delix Mugwagwa, is now a training safety officer in Mutare.
In e-mailed responses to enquiries, TSCZ’s information, communication and technical manager Tatenda Chinoda said, “The matter between the two was discussed through our internal human resource management processes and hence resolved amicably. I am further told that issue went before lawyers and was resolved at that level.”