By Alois Vinga
GRANT Thornton, which is overseeing the liquidation of Jaggers Wholesalers, has dismissed claims by ex-workers that the exercise had been hit by corruption.
Former workers told The Financial Gazette that since the appointment of the liquidator, no meetings had been held to update them on progress in the liquidation exercise.
“To date, most employees have received plus or minus $2 000 which is very little considering that most of the workers had served the company for over ten years. What boggles the mind is that we were recently told the amounts we received recently, which were less than $10, constituted final payments,” said one ex-employee who requested anonymity.
Another former worker alleged that former managers were working in cahoots with the liquidator to milk the company.
“We were surprised to note that the liquidator employed former Jaggers debtors’ clerk, who then destroyed all the records of amounts that we were owed,” said the former worker.
The ex-workers said some buildings belonging to Jaggers were not being disposed of because the former managers were using them to run their businesses.
They said amounts realised from the sale of some buildings and revenue being collected through rentals had not been disclosed to them.
“There is serious conflict of interest hampering the liquidation exercise. Former employees are being offered top jobs while some are using the entity’s properties,” said another former worker.
But Alexious Dera, an advisory services officer at Grant Thornton, dismissed the allegations by the former workers, saying the liquidation process was being done above board.
“The amounts owed to employees were calculated in conjunction with the human resources personnel who maintained all the employee records at the time the company was placed under liquidation. Employees were given the opportunity to verify and confirm the amounts before they were submitted to the Master of the High Court,” he said.
He noted that after selling some assets, the employees were paid in preference to all other creditors on the first and second dividends in terms of the insolvency laws of Zimbabwe.
He said in the current third dividend payout, the employees had to share with other creditors as they had exhausted their preferment portion.
Dera said no financial records had been destroyed and indicated that some staff members were hired to facilitate the liquidation process.
“Whenever a company goes into liquidation, as a liquidator, in order to ensure that the process goes on well, you retain a few key staff who will assist in the liquidation process. We retained Advance Nare, who was an accounts clerk, to assist in the liquidation process in order to benefit all creditors including the workers. If any employee knows of any debtors they should give that information to the liquidator for collection. The liquidation process is supervised by the Master of High Court and we have no interest or business destroying any financial records,” he said.
Jaggers was placed under provisional liquidation in 2011 and entered the final liquidation phase in 2013 after failing to pay creditors. The group owed creditors more than $13 million.