Chirwa Opens Defence

FORMER Zambia Railways (ZRL) chief executive officer (CEO) Clive Chirwa has told the court that he was not CEO at the time he is alleged to have recommended his company, Clavel Incorporation to train ZRL staff.

Chirwa told principal magistrate Obister Musukwa when he opened his defence yesterday that he was appointed CEO on November 7, 2012, an appointment which only took effect on January 11, 2013 when he signed the contract and drew his first salary was on February 3, 2013.

Chirwa said that for about two months, he carried out researches as ZRL designate CEO despite not having signed the contract and most of the money including the booking of taxis to check on the status of the railway line was from his pocket.

This is in a matter in which Chirwa is jointly charged with former ZRL Director of Finance Regina Mwale for failure to disclose interest and abuse of office.

Chirwa is in count one alleged to have between November 1, 2012 and December 31 2012 failed to disclose interest to the ZRL board that Clavel Incorporated Limited, a company he had proposed to be engaged to train staff at ZRL was his company.

Chirwa and Mwale are alleged to have between February 1 and March 2, 2013 in Kabwe jointly and whilst acting together abused authority of their offices by authorising the payment of K72,282, 210 to Fallsway Apartments for Chirwa’s accommodation, which was beyond his entitlement.

But Chirwa told Mr Musukwa that he was not CEO for ZRL on December 18, 2012 a day he is alleged to have proposed Clavel to train employees but that he was a future CEO because he had not signed a contract with the company.

Chirwa also told the court that when he returned from United Kingdom on December 3, 2012, nobody told him where he would be staying but he was taken to Fallsway by a protocol officer from the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications.

Chirwa further told the court that former ZRL board Chairperson Mark Chona was agitated by a letter he wrote to the board expressing his concern over the unnecessary drawing of allowances from the company which made it overrun its budget within three months.

He said this was after he had written to Mr Chona expressing concern over the drawing of unnecessary allowances giving an example where sometimes two people would hold a meeting and draw allowances.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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