Lazarus Muchenje, NetOne’s Chief Executive Officer was suspended earlier this year, with the NetOne board accusing the executive of failing to provide documentation to auditors, procuring fuel on the black market and violation of exchange control rules.
The Chief Executive quickly shot back with an urgent chamber application claiming that his suspension was unlawful since the board meeting that resulted in his suspension had not been convened lawfully and no decision was passed at said board meeting to suspend the CEO.
It later emerged that one of the board members who had been appointed 4 months earlier had never attended a NetOne board meeting, including the one that resulted in Muchenje’s suspension.
Justice Chirawu-Mugomba yesterday made judgement ruling in favour of Lazarus Muchenje saying the suspension of Muchenje was a result of an improperly constituted meeting.
NetOne is reportedly still arguing claiming that this matter should’ve been heard before the Labour Court but Justice Chirawu-Mugomba said the matter was constitutional.
NetOne is also said to have “disputed the draft minutes which had the resolution to suspend the CEO but could not provide alternative minutes.”
If Muchenje’s stay at NetOne is indeed extended one of the biggest questions that will remain is whether or not he can actually carry out his mandate with what seems like a target on his back?
This isn’t the first time the executive has had to relinquish his role, with a similar occurrence in 2018. Back then, Muchenje was dismissed
What happens to the board now?
When Minister Kazembe Kazembe was appointed in 2018, one of the biggest decisions he made was firing the NetOne board and one of the reasons that informed that decision was the fact that the board had appointed an acting CEO after Muchenje’s suspension. Now that this new board did the same and appointed Chipo Jaisson (formerly NetOne’s Management Accounting Head) after Muchenje’s suspension.
Worst of all NetOne seemed to be in the right direction at the helm and as a colleague of mine mentioned before, if he really is guilty of abusing his office then he should be judged on that but if these are political squabbles that are now getting in the way the company is run, you can’t help but be disappointed.