By Robert Tapfumaneyi
ENERGY Minister Fortune Chasi has warned embattled ZESA board executive chairperson Sydney Gata not to hold the power utility to ransom for selfish needs.
The showdown follows reports that Gata this week suspended eight board members who were investigating him for corruption as ordered, a directive that came from Chasi.
“We never expected the sort of things that we are hearing in the press of non-employees that are being purported to be employees of ZESA and there are structures that are not authorised by the board being put in place and so forth,” Chasi said Friday.
“The board itself is currently seized with these issues and I do not want to pre-empt their findings, but what they have decided to do was that Dr. Gata must be suspended for a defined period to allow the board to look into the allegations.
“And it seems that is not desirable on his side. As the Minister of Energy, I will have to take the necessary action to make sure there is normalcy in ZESA and make sure that the country is not held to ransom by an individual.”
Gata was suspended by the board to look into graft and abuse of office allegations.
The ZESA boss has also been on a warpath and using some influential employees who are members of the workers’ union to rally behind him and fight his battles.
His defence is that he is a victim of exposing high-level graft in the parastatal.
However, since his appointment last year, he has fired and suspended several senior managers accusing them of tarnishing his name.
“I know that vashandi veZESA (ZESA employees) will not be fooled, and I have taken decisive action to restore order by suspending eight board members pending disciplinary action,” Gata said earlier Friday before the same board moved and suspended him.
“Several arrests are pending on corruption charges including board members and senior managers. Contrary to feeble rumours of my suspension, I assure you in terms of our treasured constitution, only the appointing authority can dispense those powers,” said Gata.
The controversial executive chairperson is accused of allocating himself five company vehicles for personal use, interference in a disciplinary hearing involving acting chief executive Norah Tsomomdo, illegal transactions involving Tuli and establishing a trust, which the parent Ministry of Energy is not aware.