Sources at Munhumutapa building said Charamba was furious when a ZBC truck laden with hampers and other goodies arrived at the government offices at Munhumutapa and started dishing out gifts ranging from groceries, fuel coupons, diaries and electronic gadgets to officials at his ministry and other government departments, including the ministry of Defence, army, the President’s office.
Charamba confirmed to Radio VOP that he declined a “personal and private gift” from ZBC and suggested that the state broadcaster could have been trying to ‘cultivate goodwill,’ by dishing out Christmas presents to senior officials.
He said there was nothing unusual about his decline, as he also refused to take another gift from his own ministry, as this would have been in conflict of interest, considering his dual role as Presidential spokesperson and media permanent secretary.
“I have not accepted a gift from anyone since I have been in government for the past 20 years,” he said.
Although Charamba declined the ZBC gifts, several other government officials and senior managers from the state-controlled broadcaster, gladly accepted the goodies.
Workers at the corporation said they were only paid their December salaries last week, almost three weeks after the normal pay day and this was only done after the corporation secured a loan from a local bank.
Senior Managers recently bought themselves top of the range and luxurious Mercedes Benz and Toyota Landcruisers worth millions of dollars leaving the corporation almost bankrupt. The top managers are also said to be earning salaries close to US$20 000 on top of other perks such as free fuel, US$1 000 weekly entertainment allowances, close to $10 000 holiday allowances, as well as education allowances for their children and spouses.
A source with the ZBC confirmed Charamba declined the gift from management which he said was trying to cover up for its mismanagement of company funds. Contacted for comment, ZBC spokesperson Sivukile Simango said “I don’t talk to the private press,” before switching off his mobile phone.