The Roads Authority (RA) has been forced to pay its former director of construction, Benjamin Kapoteza, K17 million for terminating his contract prematurely.
RA’s board has since distanced itself from the termination of the contract and the subsequent payment of K17 million and instead pointed fingers at Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Hiwa, as having made such a decision to terminate the contract.
In an interview, Kapoteza confirmed demanding K17 million from RA for having his contract terminated one year before its expiry. He said at first he demanded K24 million but after negotiations, they settled for K17 million.
He said he did not understand why his contract was terminated. He has so far received K12 million and is yet to get the last instalment this August.
“The contract was terminated towards the end of last year but became effective on 15 January 2016. It was reduced by one year,” he said.
Asked why his contract was terminated and whether he was in agreement with the termination, Kapoteza said:
“The letter was talking about retirement but the contract had no requirement of retirement. In the contract, there was no item of retirement. And it was done without my endorsement,” he said.
Kapoteza said he did not appeal to the board because his understanding was that the board was part of the decision to terminate his contract.
“One would expect that the board would know. The CEO works, on behalf of the board,” he said, adding that he had a three-year contract with the Authority.
We asked RA to justify the termination of the contract when it costs the parastatal so much tax-payers’ money in compensation. We also inquired from the RA to explain why the decision to terminate the contract was done by the CEO without involvement of the board. We further demanded explanation of circumstances that led to the termination of the board.
RA Spokesperson, Portia Kajanga, responded: “Kindly note that the decisions to hire and fire are made by the board while processing of contracts is done by the department of Statutory Corporations. The CEO has no say in the hiring and firing of senior management staff.”
But in an interview, RA Board Chairperson, Jackson Gomani, said the board was not involved in the termination of the contract and payment for Kapoteza.
“I am hearing it from you that he [Kapoteza] is paid K12 million. We knew about the termination after it was already made when things were complicated.
“He was a very good man working for the good of the organisation. But now we are losing money paying him. We were just told in a meeting that he demanded K24 million and later told that they had agreed to pay him K17 million,” Gomani said.
RA is also embroiled in a K217 million World Bank contract saga in which Hiwa is accused of awarding the contract to his own firm called Infracon Limited.
Secretary to Treasury, Ronald Mangani, wrote RA Board to commence disciplinary action against Hiwa.
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