Barely four weeks after an Armscor board meeting cleared its chief executive of wrongdoing, it appears all is not above board at the State-owned defence and security acquisition company.
Allegations of wrongdoing at Armscor, shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais maintains, must be subjected to “a full-scale investigation”. His concerns go further with a request that Minister Thandi Modise “immediately suspend the Armscor board and the company chief executive (Solomzi Mbada)”.
This in the wake of reports alleging Modise informed the Armscor board she will “initiate a thorough investigation into allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing levelled against Mbada and Armscor Chair, Philip Dexter” a statement issued by Marais has it. One of the alleged offences is that Mbaba’s five-year fixed term contract was irregularly changed to a permanent contract with no board resolution to support the decision.
The Ministerial allegations, as per the Marais statement, are “serious and of such a nature the parties cannot continue to act in their roles while the investigation is ongoing. They are interested parties who occupy senior positions in the company and must be kept clear of even the perception of being protected as cadres, as well as potentially interfere with the conduct of the investigation”.
With, at the time of publishing, no statement from either the Defence Ministry, the Department of Defence (DoD) or Armscor, Marais points out “Modise’s handling of the issue is not satisfactory either”.
Following the early July Armscor board meeting, seemingly called to discuss newspaper reports of fraud and sexual favours, a statement attributed to Dexter, exonerated Mbada.
It read, in part: “At a special sitting the Armscor board considered the allegations levelled against the Chief Executive Officer Advocate Solomzi Mbada. Having reviewed all documents, the board did not find any substance to these allegations. As an employee, the rights of the CEO are protected within the ambit of his contract of employment at Armscor”.