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Suspended ZESA bosses beg for time to fend for families

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By Court Reporter


THREE Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) bosses, up for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars in a tender scam, on Monday begged court to relax their bail conditions which they said were now affecting their efforts to find alternative means of survival.

Group chief executive Joshua Chifamba, who is jointly charged with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managing director Julian Chinembiri and finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo, said they have since lost their jobs so they needed to seek other means to make ends meet.

Through its lawyer, Admire Rubaya, the trio told court it was unable to do so because of tough reporting conditions.

“The State will not suffer any prejudice as they will be still reporting to the police,” Rubaya said.

“The accused persons were ordered to surrender title deeds as part of their bail conditions, therefore there is no risk of absconding.”

Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa granted the application.

The trio was initially ordered to report twice week.

Now it will be reporting once a fortnight.

Allegations are that sometime in March 2012, ZETDC and Zesa Enterprises (Zent) entered into a two-year business transaction with PME Power Solutions, an Indian-based company for design, equipment supply, engineering and supervision for the commissioning of substations at Chiwaridzo in Bindura, Senga in Gweru, Aerodrome and Cowdray Park in Bulawayo, without going to tender.

The agreement, valued the projects at $35 million, but there was no provision for dates of delivery of the equipment.

Court heard that Article 12 of the agreement defined duration of the contracts as two years.

Court further heard that Zesa Holdings made an advance payment of $35 million from Afreximbank into PME China Trust Commercial Bank, in New Delhi, for the project.

It is the State’s case that payment was made without a performance guarantee and exposed the State to a loss of $35 million.

The state also alleges that sometime in November 2014, the trio allegedly handpicked Fruitful Communications to provide media services to the parastatal without following tender procedures, leading to the payment of $23 750 for radio talk shows.

The company is jointly owned by broadcaster, Oscar Pambuka and former Zanu PF legislator, Pschology Maziwisa.