Media Alert, 28 February 2013
Suspended newspaper executive said to have misused funds
Media reports say Alpheous Nxumalo, the suspended managing director of the Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers, allegedly misused funds during his tenure. Chairperson of the Swazi Observer, Sthofeni Ginindza, suspended Nxumalo on 19 February 2013.
On Monday, 25 February 2013 the Times of Swaziland, a privately-owned daily newspaper, reported that Nxumalo allegedly partook in “fraudulent practices and other acts of misconduct”. The newspaper quoted Ginindza as saying “the allegations [against Nxumalo] pertained to financial mismanagement”.
Nxumalo successfully obtained an interdict allowing him to return to work despite the board insisting that he would not be welcome at the newspaper group.
However, the Times of Swaziland reports that since the suspension, the managing director “was further required to hand over all company items, including all keys, computers, laptops, documents and any other item in his possession that belongs to the Swazi Observer”. It would also appear as if he is being denied access to company premises.
Nxumalo is accusing what he describes as a “politically-controlled” board of interference in his work, saying this is what has led to his suspension.
Earlier this year, Nxumalo attracted much criticism after publishing a column in the Swazi Observer in which he accused the media and non-governmental organisations of undermining the authority of the Swazi government and the royal family.
“It is absolutely true that most of the so-called democracy activists find it ‘democratic’ to insult the heads of state and government in the media as a strategy of democratising Swaziland. It is preposterous and fallacious,” he wrote, going on to declare that he “will not submit to a mandate in contradiction with the mandate of the Swazi monarchy and its subsidiary institutions.”
The Swaziland Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland) wrote a letter to the newspaper at the time, calling on Nxumalo to substantiate his claims.
The Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers publishes the Swazi Observer (daily) and Weekend Observer (weekly). Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, a royal conglomerate owned by King Mswati III in trust of the Swazi nation, owns the newspaper group.
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