ENERGY and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi this week sharpened his sword for a fierce confrontation with errant Zesa managers believed to be derailing his roadmap towards resuscitation of the power utility, including resolving the current power crisis, Zim Morning Post can report.
This publication understands that on Sunday, Chasi called for an emergency management meeting and read the riot act to some managers believed to be sabotaging projects implementation.
“The meeting was very tense and the usually softspoken Chasi you know was roaring like a lion and complained about the lethargic project implementation,” said an inside source.
Chasi is said to have told the managers that he was ready to wield the axe at individuals who refused to cooperate in the pursuance of government policies.
He also castigated the rampant misgovernance at the State-owned power utility, in particular the alleged corruption in tender awards and nepotism.
“He railed at both ministry officials – especially the director, a Mr Munyaradzi, Zimbabwe Power Company directors Robson Chikuri and former legal adviser Saidi Sangula for not feeling the heartbeat of the country and moving with it.
“He asked each attendee whether they had problems working with him and said if anyone had such a problem, they must resign immediately,” said the source.
When Chasi assumed office, he made it clear that tackling corruption at Zesa was one of his major challenges and vowed he would overcome it.
The power utility has carried the “most corrupt officials” tug for a very long time.
“Some of the managers are working hard to sabotage the minister, because he is cleansing the corruption that they spearheaded and enriched themselves.
“That is why projects implementation is at a snail’s pace,” explained our source.
Management has previously been accused of granting themselves very high salaries and perquisites (incidental benefits) even at a time when the entity was not operating profitably and efficiently.
As reported by this publication a fortnight ago, the Criminal Investigations Department Serious Fraud Unit launched fresh investigations on two ZPC directors, namely Robson Chikuri and former legal adviser Saidi Sangula with regards their conduct in the controversial 100MW Gwanda Solar Project awarded to businessman Wicknell Chivayo.
The matter has been before the courts, with judgments being passed and then reversed under unclear circumstances.
In a report seen by this publication, Sangula is accused of going against a decision to uphold the termination of Chivayo’s contract.
After anomalies were detected in the Intratrek deal and how US$5 million was paid without a bank guarantee, the board sought legal advice from Sangula, who stated that the contract was an “over-kill”.
“After this advise, nothing was done in as far as termination of the contract and disciplinary action against managers who were found wanting in the Gwanda solar project was concerned,” read part of the report.
Documents seen by this publication also stated that Chikuri had circumvented due process in the Chivayo-Gwanda solar project.
“Chikuri circumvented due process by making weekly payments which were within his threshold.
“These advance payments were made to the contractor without the knowledge of the company secretary’s office, which administers all contracts.
“In mid-April 2016, the media reported on unsecured advance payments made to Intratrek, and that one of the directors (Chivayo) had a criminal record.”
Part of the communique also stated that concerns were raised by stakeholders on the issue.
Chikuri was also under fire for inflating prices of Unit 4 Boiler Outage Works at Hwange Power Station from US$2 205 306, a price adjustment of close to US$1,3 million.
In a letter dated March 29, 2019, directed to ZPC acting managing director following a special oversight committee held on on March 21, 2019, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive, Nyasha Chizu, raised a red flag over the issue of the four boiler outages.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of underhand dealings, Zesa has not taken up any action against Chikuri and all those allegedly involved in the controversial Gwanda solar project.