Harare based lawyer Advocate Tinomudaishe Chinyoka resigned as the Board Chairman of Petrotrade (Private) Limited on exactly the same day the government through cabinet confirmed the sale of the parastatal to a company linked to controversial business tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
Petrotrade Zimbabwe (formerly National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) is a trading company responsible for downstream activities, including selling petroleum products and lubricants through bulk sales and service stations.
In March this year Minister of Energy and Power Development Soda Zhemu suspended the entire board of the company and instituted investigations into what he called ‘corporate governance issues’.
Appointed last year, the board included former opposition MDC Alliance legislator Lilian Timveos, who defected to Zanu-PF. Chinyoka was the chairman and deputised by Zanele Dube. Other board members included Simba Mhuriro, Gladys Mumhure, Ferida Matambo, Lilian Timveos, Getrude Marabada and Godfrey Ncube.
“While the Board of Directors for Petrotrade was appointed in terms of Section 11 of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act, with the concurrence of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I have today, 9 March 2022 suspended the entire Board, pending investigations into matters of corporate governance,” Zhemu said.
“I will be appointing a team to look into the matter, whose findings will inform the way forward,” the Minister added.
Chinyoka however is not hanging around for the so-called ‘investigations and resigned last week on Wednesday (3 August 2022), the same day Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa was addressing journalists at a post cabinet briefing in Harare and confirming the sale of Petrotrade and Genesis.
“Cabinet considered an update on the partial privatisation of Petrotrade as presented by the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Honourable Zhemu Soda,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The nation will recall that Cabinet in 2019 approved the merging of the state owned petroleum companies, namely Petrotrade (Pvt) Ltd and Genesis Energy to form a single entity that would be partially privatized.
“Cabinet also approved Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) as the prospective strategic partner to the merged petroleum company, subject to successful negotiations.
Sources told Nehanda Radio Chinyoka claimed his decision was to allow the shareholder to be in a position to immediately constitute a new board of directors to supervise both the recruitment of an Acting Chief Executive Officer and the partial privatisation of the parastatal which Chinyoka was heavily opposed to.
Chinyoka has also made it clear he does not wish to be considered for re-appointment to the board.
In a High Court application (filed in March) challenging his suspension by the Minister, Chinyoka revealed that over US$103,3 million was corruptly squandered at Petrotrade before the board of directors he chaired was suspended.
Sources who spoke to Nehanda Radio claim Chinyoka was elbowed out after opposing the selling of Petrotrade for only US$37 million to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally, the business tycoon Tagwirei.