By Leopold Munhende
SIX ZESA top officials have been charged internally for alleged financial misdemeanour, acts that have haemorrhaged the power utility of millions of dollars.
This was revealed Wednesday by Energy Minister Fortune Chasi during a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare.
Chasi was responding to questions on how he was dealing with the parastatal’s management, linked to acts of corruption in a recent damning audit report on the firm.
“We had a forensic report dealing with ZESA. We have already started executing what that audit report suggested,” Chasi said.
“So far individuals who have been found to have been complicit in the things that the AR complained of are now facing disciplinary charges.
“I do not have the names with me but we have five or six senior people that have been charged and so we await the outcomes of the disciplinary proceedings.”
A forensic audit into the power utility unearthed massive abuse of public funds through overpricing of goods and services, purchase of top of the range vehicles for top management and siphoning of millions of US dollars from the struggling State firm.
Chasi could neither name the ZESA officials nor reveal more on the issue.
“We anticipate that going forward, we would have much more concrete information as to who did what and who did not do what and what is it that must visit them.”
Chasi, who dissolved the previous ZESA board for failing to conduct its duties, added that he is now working towards appointing a new one that will be in touch with contemporary issues around power generation.
Some 15 ZESA top managers who included the Chief Executive Joshua Chifamba were suspended last October to pave way for forensic investigations into operations at the beleaguered state enterprise.
Residents have blamed the lavish lifestyle enjoyed by ZESA’s top executives and their corrupt dealings for the current power crisis that has reduced the country to just about 15 hours of electricity per day.
Government has blamed it on alarmingly low water levels at ZESA’s main Kariba Power Station and subdued production at its various, smaller stations.
A 400MW deal from South Africa’s Eskom has not resulted in normalisation of supply of the resource.
The 400MW is dependant on payments of US$890 000 per week to service a debt owed to Eskom in the region of US$25 million.
Chasi disclosed that government had now resolved to sending ZESA technical personnel to enhance negotiations for another 400MW relief deal from Mozambique’s Hydro Cabora Bassa (HCB).