National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) board has fired the institution’s deputy chief executive officer Gerald Viola on disciplinary grounds.
NFRA board chairperson Dennis Kalekeni confirmed in an interview on Monday that the new board of directors reviewed Viola’s disciplinary issue which had already been concluded by the previous board and has implemented what was recommended by them.
He said: “It is correct that Mr Gerald Viola has been summarily dismissed and he is no longer an employee of NFRA.”
The Anti-Corruption Bureau had arrested him for offences under the Corrupt Practices Act and Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act. He is accused of unilaterally issuing to Missies Trading a Local Purchasing Order (LPO) number 6750 to supply 10 000 metric tonnes of maize to NFRA.
Records at ACB show that the deal was for the advantage of Chrispin Chingola of the said Missies Trading and allegedly did not involve the NFRA Internal Procurement and Disposal of Assets Committee.
But in an interview on Monday, Viola said the accusations were one sided; hence, not solid to base a decision on.
He said: “No one wanted to hear anything from me, but that was obvious, especially when governments change.”
In a separate interview, Viola’s lawyer Yusuf Nthenda observed that NFRA took the matter to ACB who arrested his client and that the issue was pending in court.
But Kalekeni argued that the NFRA board based its decision on Viola’s employment contract and terms and conditions of service.
He said: “The legality or criminality matter has its own channels and systems of handling them which the board cannot
interfere with. So, the NFRA board should not be dragged into court matters, it has dealt with the matter within its mandate.”
Viola, who run for Parliament on a Democratic Progressive Party ticket, was arrested in July this year for allegedly unlawful use of a government motor vehicle contrary to Section 299 of the Penal Code.