HARARE – Police on Wednesday seized three top executives from Zesa and its subsidiary on corruption charges.
Joshua Chifamba, the Zesa Holdings CEO; Julian Chinembiri the managing director of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and his finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo were arrested over a 2014 bungled $35 million order for transformer-making equipment, said police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
The trio are also accused of awarding a public relations firm owned by former Zanu PF MP Psychology Maziwisa and broadcaster Oscar Pambuka a contract without going to tender.
All three will be charged with two counts of criminal abuse of office.
The first charge, Nyathi said, relates to the multi-million transformer-making equipment that was delivered from India in 2014 to Zesa subsidiary ZENT. The Indian firm delivering the transformers was called PME.
It has for long been reported that there was no order placed by Zesa for the machinery, raising the spectre that some officials had corruptly acquired the machinery with the hope of offloading it to the power utility for personal gain.
The machinery was acquired at a time Zesa wanted to desperately install transformers in Chiwardidzo, Bindura; Senga in Gweru; Aerodrome in Bindura and Cowdry Park suburb in Bulawayo.
The power utility had on its books a plan to acquire machinery that would allow it to manufacture its own transformers for both domestic use and export.
The stranded equipment has incurred millions of dollars in storage and insurance charges.
The second charges relates to the decision to award Fruitful Communications, a public relations gig at Zesa without going to tender. Zesa went on to pay $12,000 to the company.
Former Energy Minister Samuel Undenge, who is said to have recommended the company to Zesa, was convicted of criminal abuse of office and jailed for four years, but he has appealed against both conviction and sentence at the High Court. He is out on bail.
Mazibisa and Pambuka have also been arrested. They are charged with fraud, with claims that they never delivered the services they got paid for.-Zimlive