A WITNESS has told the Lusaka magistrate’s court that former Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) chief executive officer (CEO) Clive Chirwa recommended his company, Clavel Incorporated Limited, to be engaged to train ZRL employees without declaring interest.
Giving evidence for the prosecution, ZRL company secretary Patrick Musonda also told Lusaka Principal Magistrate Obister Musukwa that Chirwa was directed by the ZRL Board to vacate Fallsway Apartments because its expenses were unbudgeted for.
This is in a matter in which Chirwa, 58, is jointly charged with former ZRL director of finance Regina Mwale for abuse of authority office contrary to the law.
Chirwa is in the first count charged with failure to disclose interest contrary to the law.
It is alleged that Chirwa, on dates unknown but between November 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012, in his capacity as CEO, recommended during a ZRL Board meeting that Clavel Incorporation Limited, a company in which he is an officer and shareholder, be given a contract to train employees of the railway company without declaring interest.
Chirwa and Mwale, 50, are in the second count charged with abuse of authority of office.
It is alleged that Chirwa and Mwale between February 1 and March 2, 2013 jointly and whilst acting together did abuse authority of their offices by authorising the payment of K72, 282.21 to Fallsway Apartments for Chirwa’s accommodation, an amount which was beyond his entitlement.
When the matter came up for continued trial yesterday, Mr Musonda told Mr Musukwa that on December 18, 2012, Chirwa recommended to the Board that there was need for training of key ZRL personnel, and that it should consider engaging Clavel as consultants.
Mr Musonda said Chirwa did not disclose that he was a shareholder as was the policy of ZRL.
He said the special Board meeting, the first after Chirwa’s appointment, was attended by former ZRL chairperson Mark Chona, his deputy Oliver Saasa, himself and other members.
Mr Musonda said on March 22, 2013, another meeting was held where the Board directed management to furnish it with a report on how Clavel was single-sourced to train ZRL personnel.
He said that the Board further demanded for the names of the shareholders in Clavel, but nobody gave them the details because Chirwa, who was knowledgeable about the company, was not in attendance despite the Board having directed him to be available.
Mr Musonda, however, said during cross-examination that Chirwa was not in attendance because he was attending a ZRL meeting in Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe.
He said that the Board also directed management during the same meeting to relocate Chirwa because Fallsway was deemed expensive.
He said this was despite the Board on February 19, 2013 having written to Chirwa issuing a directive for him not to stay at Fallsway Apartments since the expenses were not budgeted for.
Mr Musonda said Chirwa’s contract was silent on what would happen in an event that the house for the CEO was not fully furnished, but the contract entitled him to 20 per cent of his basic pay of K140,000 as housing allowance.
Mr Musukwa adjourned the matter to February 25, 2014 for continued trial.