The trial for former Health minister David Parirentatwa has opened a can of worms on NatPham as allegations of harassment against junior staff members by seniors are believed to go unreported.
The State witness, NatPham’s human resources manager Walter Nhau led evidence in court to the effect that the employment of Newman Madzikwa and Nancy Sifeku were illegal as his department which is in charge of hiring and firing was not consulted in the matter in questions but rather orders had come to employ them.
However issues of harassment of employees at NatPham were brought up and Nhau could not properly answer them during cross examination of by Parirenyatwa’s lawyer Advocate Deepak Mehta.
“There were allegations of harassment of two pharmacists at NatPham by Nancy Sifeku but no investigations were launched as there was no disciplinary hearing against her and the matter was neither reported nor investigated, are you aware of that?” Mehta asked to which Nhau responded that he was not aware of them.
“There were also allegations against Newman Madzikwa and he went for disciplinary hearing, later he was dismissed from NatPham at which stage he joined the ministry and still worked closely with you until the time he bounced back to NatPham as the Managing Director, your boss, as a result of the letter from Parirenyatwa.
“As the Human Resources manager did you not see it fit to raise a red flags to the effect that an individual who had undergone hearing and you had dismissed had come back to be your boss as the managing director?”
Nhau failed to give a satisfactory response on the questions put to him by the defense and the court also heard that it was not NatPham that had raised allegations against Parirenyatwa as they are emanating from an anonymous tipoff.
Parirentatwa who is represented by James Makina and Advocate Mehta has long pleaded not guilty indicating that he made all his decisions in compliance with the ministry’s ‘100 day action plan’ and the
Prosecuting Brian Vito alleges that Parirenyatwa on June 4, 2018 ordered NatPharm board chairman, Dr George Washaya, to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract as managing director of the Government-owned company saying he required her services at his then Ministry before directing Washaya to appoint Newman Madzikwa as the acting managing director of NatPharm.
The board complied with the directive resulting in Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa both being given six-month contracts with effect from June to November 30, 2018. This allegedly resulted in NatPharm paying two salaries concurrently to Sifeku and Madzikwa for the managing director’s position, thereby prejudicing the company of $30 000. Parirenyatwa is out on $500 bail coupled with stringent bail conditions and will appear on February 12 for continuation of trial.