Red flag raised over Hwange refurbishment expenses

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By Leopold Munhende

SCANDAL ridden State power supplier Zesa subsidiary, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) was early this year asked to explain a variance of over US$1 million in the refurbishment of two similar Units at the Hwange Power Station, has learnt.

The letter, dated 29 March 2019, addressed to ZPC acting manager, Zuwaracho Chikuri and signed by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) chief executive, Nyasha Chizu details how the power company had subverted public procurement regulations by not performing due diligence on prices set by its supplier.

GEC Zimbabwe, one of ZPC’s suppliers hiked fees for maintenance of Hwange Power Station’s Unit 4 to US$2,205,306.95 from US$808,580.15 charged for Unit 3.

The scope of works in both instances were reportedly similar.

“The accounting officer (Chikuri) has juxtaposed Unit 3 scopes v Unit 4 scope of what is on Page 3 of 8 to Page 4 of 8 of the accounting officer’s technical evaluation report.

“The accounting officer did not however submit evidence of conducting a due diligence process to assess the reasonableness of costs being charged by the supplier,” reads the letter.

“Members indicated that the accounting officer should explain the variation on costs on the units that are similar.”

The embattled Chikuri who is facing a raft of fraud allegations that include subverting the ZPC board on procurement procedures was ordered to provide clarification on costs to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC).

Chikuri is also in the middle of another scandal which saw Zesa top bosses acquiring top of the range cars worth over US$1 million.

Zimbabwe is reeling under the weight of a crippling power shortage exacerbated by low water levels at Kariba Dam and dilapidated infrastructure at Hwange.

Treasury has reportedly indicated Zesa has failed to account for millions. It was not clear whether ZPC had responded to the demand for clarification.