By Mary Taruvinga
LOCAL GOVERNMENT Minister, July Moyo is denying owing the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) US$314 000 in unpaid bills.
He was recently dragged to court after the power utility announced it is owed millions of dollars by top government officials.
This comes at a time when Zesa has introduced rolling power cuts with consumers enduring up to 20 hours a day without electricity.
A High Court Judge will this Thursday hear a the case in which Moyo is denying the allegations arguing he does not owe a penny.
“This is denied. Defendant (Moyo) specifically denies that he has been properly cited in the pleadings. Defendant avers that there is miscitation of the defendant,” he wrote in his plea.
Moyo also argues that customer information print-out does not correctly reflect the electricity consumed by him.
“Defendant denies utilising the electricity reflected in annexures attached…The alleged claim being for a debt or liquidated demand is now prescribed. More specifically the claims from February 11 2013 to May 11 2017 are all prescribed,” the Cabinet Minister said.
Moyo went on to attach annexures showing bills he cleared as mentioned.
He said the figures Zesa is demanding are fictitious and prayed for claim to be dismissed.
Reduced electricity production at the Kariba Hydro-Power Station owing to low water levels and breakdown of obsolete infrastructure at Hwange has played havoc with Zesa’s ability to supply electricity.
The utility has turned to imports from South Africa and currently negotiating for fresh supplies from Mozambique’s Hydro-Cahora Bassa.
Moyo is not the only one targeted in Zesa’s new push to force political leaders and big businesses to pay up.
Former Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is also at the High Court, accused of failing to settle a $273,150 bill for his Pandamantenka Farm in Kwekwe.
Former deputy police commissioner Innocent Matibiri is being pursued over a $167,000 debt.