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Zesa boss faces corruption probe

by Staff reporter
26 Jul 2020 at 16:20hrs | Views
ENERGY minister Fortune Chasi says he has been alerted to fresh corruption allegations at Zesa Holdings (Zesa) - and specifically being perpetrated by executive chairperson Sydney Gata - and which the government will thoroughly investigate.

The development comes as the electricity concern has been dogged by graft allegations since the 199os, with ex-chief executive Josh Chifamba and several other executives back in court last week and President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has vowed to rid the country of corruption starting with State-owned enterprises.

"Yes, my attention has been drawn to the allegations you state. They are indeed egregious and very worrying. However, I just note that the matter is sub-judice and hence as a result I am stopped from commenting there on," Chasi told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

"Government's attitude is well known. It is one of complete intolerance - regardless of the alleged culprit. The president (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has repeatedly made this point and there will be no deviation from that stance in this case," he said.

"This case will be a good test case as to the spine fullness of the board. Government expects no less than adequate action that is in line with the seriousness of the matter in question. The board's speed of action must reflect the urgency and seriousness of the matter," Chasi, a trained lawyer, said.

"Additionally, we expect that a proper investigation be carried out and that the outcomes of such investigation shall inform the requisite action by the board. The importance, actual or imagined, of an alleged perpetrator is completely irrelevant to the inquiry and the corrective action to be taken in the circumstances," he said.

While Gata was not immediately available for comment yesterday, information gleaned by this publication suggests that the Zesa executive chair had diverted some projects to entities associated with him, employed ghost workers and used company funds for his "personal benefit". The electrical engineer stands accused of splurging "$10 million on two lavish parties in Hwange and Kariba and $2 million on alcohol alone" when he was reappointed to the broke parastatal last year.

"The common link between Zesa... and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Industry Trust (ZESIT) is that Dr Gata... is a champion of and patron of ZESIT. He has been championing ZESIT's cause to the extent of allowing it to operate from Zesa national training centre at no cost to ZESIT. The entity is a private project, which is the brainchild and mastered by Dr Gata and some of his erstwhile colleagues in Zesa," a government source, who indicated a dossier would be sent to Mnangagwa's office and the anti-corruption unit tomorrow, said.

Among other projects that the British-trained executive is alleged to have carried out in an opaque manner include the Tuli mining project in Beitbridge and the KEPCO joint venture with a Korean company - for the manufacture of concrete structures for electrification.

The projects, it is said, have been passed off to the board as Zesa undertakings and yet it was ZESIT, which was at the centre of the projects. Gata, a former Robert Mugabe relative and who has been previously sacked at the parastatal, is also facing allegations of "subverting labour processes to favour individuals".

In particular, he is alleged to have usurped disciplinary proceedings for one Norah Tsomondo - a suspended Zimbabwe Power Company employee facing serious allegations of causing unauthorised expenditures to the tune of US$2o million which arose in 2018 - by allegedly ordering her reinstatement. On the issue of ghost employees, Gata is alleged to have imposed Peter Tshuma - an ex-Zesa employee - as head of projects and engineering as well as on business trips to South Africa in March.

According to the high-level source, the Zesa boss also stands accused of "abusing company vehicles, including a Toyota Fortuner allocated to his wife and is also alleged to have "ordered the installation of a US$4 000 solar system at his Borrowdale home, and which was not covered under his contract".


Source - dailynews

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