The scandal in which sungura music ace Alick Macheso has reportedly axed his assistant manager Jathiel “Jethro” Machanja for misappropriating funds has sucked in senior manager William Tsandukwa and Macheso’s relative only identified as Lucky.
According to sources privy to the goings-on in the band, Machanja’s fraudulent activities recently came to light when Ochestra Mberikwazvo was almost expelled from their Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex base and Macheso was presented with a backdated bill for the band’s rehearsal venue.
Machanja is also alleged to have been fleecing band members by clandestinely deducting $20 from the monthly salary of each one without a clear explanation of the tax or levy that was being paid.
Macheso is said to have summoned Machanja to explain the debt since the musician had been led to believe the dues were being settled on time. It was then that Jethro implicated Tsandukwa and Lucky.
Contacted for comment, Jethro did not deny the allegations but referred the reporter to Tsandukwa.
“I think if you call Tsandukwa he has all the information. Whatever he says is true and I trust him,” he said.
Tsandukwa prevaricated when put on the spot:
“I can’t comment on that one but would rather refer you to our new public relations officer. Call me around 2pm as I will give you all the details of the person to comment on that matter,” he said.
Another phone call at the appointed time brought no joy.
“We now have a new system and I now only comment about matters pertaining to shows. That is what Macheso has put in place. There is a new PR person whose identity I cannot reveal right now.
“Macheso does not have a phone right now. I have been communicating with him through his wife’s phone. So today I am meeting with Macheso and the new PR person.
‘‘I will not comment on this because I do not want to lose my job.
“There were reporters who came last week who could not talk to Macheso. Did they not bring the report concerning this matter? I will give you the number of the PR person after the meeting.”
Macheso’s number was inaccessible but reliable sources say that in the past two weeks Macheso has been handling his own cash and personally paying the band members, a duty carried out by Tsandukwa in the past. Machanja allegedly admitted his guilt to Macheso and has signed papers to that effect, according to our source.
“Jethro (Machanja) recently went to Macheso’s Waterfalls home accompanied by his wife to explain himself.
“Macheso made Jethro sign papers showing that he had abused the funds and was therefore asking for forgiveness.”
The sources said there have been a lot of financial shenanigans in the house and a full investigation would reveal more.
“The issue of money disappearing has always been central even during the days of the likes of Franco Dhaka (popularly known as Slomo), Obert Gomba and Noel Nyazanda, among others and this is one of the major reasons they decided to part ways with the band,” the source said.
At the time when the “rebels” left Ochestra Mberikwazvo it was hinted that Macheso’s now estranged second wife Fortunate “Tafadzwa” Mapako had meddled in the outfit’s operations to the prejudice of the band members.
Sources say that venue owners who wanted Macheso to play at their places had to pay a premium to get the sungura King, while gate takings and other proceeds from shows were under-declared.