Harare | Dubious cartels that have emerged within Khaya Cement (previously Larfage) are threatening to destroy business mogul Kuda Tagwirei’s investment in the company.
It is alleged that dishonest behaviour by senior staff members is to blame for the fictitious shortages and the precipitous rise in cement costs.
In just two months, cement prices have skyrocketed from US$9 to US$10 to US$20 to US$25, creating concern in the building sector.
With signs that a third party may be plotting to thwart the Second Republic’s development and Zimbabwe’s continuous building boom, the shortages and sharp price increases have impeded the advancement of national infrastructure projects.
According to ZiMetro News’ investigations, October’s monthly production fell to 18,000 tonnes from a capacity of 300,000 tonnes.
Due to the output decline, certain plant managers conducted internal investigations. These investigations showed that while certain bottlenecks were caused by legitimate issues, some corporate syndicates were working together to make matters worse.
That’s when the guilty parties came to light.
Insiders worked together to build a dossier that stakeholders used, and senior management got caught in the mess.
Mr. Linos Kutekwatekwa, the company’s plant manager, is at the core of the machinations after it was revealed that some shortages were the result of unscrupulous activities.
“There are indications that engineers, technicians and procurement staff are working hand in glove in causing an artificial breakdown so that they can rake in thousands of dollars through an intricate web of corruption.
“At the production department, investigations show that there is rampant pilferage that starts through under declaring the amount of raw materials getting into the plant, sources at the company told ZiMetro.
As a result of this method of operation, the involved employees underreport the amount of product produced and keep the difference for themselves.
According to one of our several sources, the upper management of Khaya mishandled their position and had tipper operators transport cement spills from the factory to the disposal site while posing as crane operators.
From the landfill to the market, they package it.This is going to be ground-level cement that is truly pure.
“A tipper driver was engaged in an accident throughout the night while transporting cement in a recent instance.
Our source claimed that “the operator implicated all the senior guys at the plant, including the plant Manager.”
Our sources also disclosed that the company’s internal security division has been corrupted and may be collaborating with the cartel.
“All theft cases, particularly those at the plant, seem to end on their own accord!”
At the Kiln factory, suspicions have also been voiced, with Obert Chigora leading the charge.
The kiln has experienced unheard-of problems, and it is strongly believed that Chigora, acting at the plant manager’s direction, purposefully arranges breakdowns.
“One of the cartels’ cash cows is the kiln, and they use the breakdowns to milk the company by buying replacement parts.”Every time the plant malfunctions, they raise prices and profit handsomely.
Tipper drivers allegedly accused Chigora of being a member of the dump site syndicate.
Michael Bvumbe, the procurement manager, has also been connected to unethical practises with the purchase of replacement parts.
Shift managers are also suspected of helping tipper drivers and all yellow machine operators steal fuel and cement while working night shifts.
Because the group includes security personnel and shift supervisors, apprehending them has proven difficult.
Government Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has declared that they are closely monitoring events in the cement sector.
The State Minister in Charge of Project Implementation supported her position. Says Jorum Gumbo:
“We are concerned about the shortages and will evaluate the impact on special project implementation shortly.”
Daniel Garwe, Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, added his voice as well and stated:
“Zimbabwe is experiencing a massive building boom. We are requesting that cement companies clean up their acts and remove any unethical behaviour that could jeopardise the country’s building boom.
Khaya Cement underwent a rebranding at the beginning of this year following a significant buyout by business magnate Kuda Tagwirei.
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