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Ex-ZRL finance boss names Mark Chona in her job loss

FORMER Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) director of finance and administration Regina Mwale yesterday emotionally testified how she was allegedly sent on forced leave a day after then board chairperson Mark Chona threatened to deal with her.
Mwale testified that on March 14 last year, Mr Chona called and allegedly accused her of waging a war between board members and then ZRL chief executive officer Clive Chirwa over concerns that the budgetary allocation for board members would be depleted early due to unprecedented and continuous board meetings.
She said Chirwa wrote a letter to all board members to show concern over the frequent meetings but this angered Mr Chona, who called her and told her “you shall see” for allegedly bringing confusion.
Mwale said this when she opened her defence in a case in which she is jointly charged with Chirwa with corruption and abuse of authority of office.
The matter is before principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa.
“On March 15, 2014, the company secretary in the company of head of human resources delivered to my office a letter which stated I was being placed on forced leave.
“I was shocked because this letter was signed by Mr Chona as board chairperson when I was not reporting to him but the chief executive officer,” Ms Mwale said.
She said in a telephone conversation,  Mr Chona allegedly said he was disappointed with her for writing to Chirwa about the allowances.
Ms Mwale said Mr Chona told her that all allowances that had been paid were because of her incompetence.
She said on March 15 last year,  the company secretary walked into her office with police and told her that he had received instructions from Mr Chona that she should vacate office.
Ms Mwale said she was given two minutes to vacate the office and later, Mr Chona called again and asked what she was still doing in the office.
She said Mr Chona issued further instructions that she should surrender the company vehicle and also ordered her personal assistant to leave the office.
Chirwa is charged in the first count with failure to disclose interest contrary to section 28 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 3 of 2012.
It is alleged that on dates unknown but between November 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 Chirwa recommended at a board meeting that Clavel Incorporation Limited, a company in which he is an officer and shareholder, be given a contract to train employees of the  company without disclosing interest.
In count two, Chirwa and Mwale are charged with abuse of authority of office on allegations that between February 1 and March 2, 2013 they authorised the payment of K72,282, 210 to Fallsway Apartments for Chirwa’s accommodation, an amount which was beyond his entitlement.
The act is said to be arbitrary and prejudicial to the rights and interests of the Zambian government.

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