UPDATE ON ZACC INVESTIGATIONS ON THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF ZESA HOLDINGS AND THE ENTIRE ZESA BOARD OF DIRECTORS ON ALLEGATIONS OF GROSS MISCONDUCT
On August 6 2020, His Excellency President, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa, suspended the Executive Chairman of ZESA Holdings and his entire Board of Directors on allegations of gross misconduct that had been levelled against them. The suspension was in terms of section 16 (1) (a) as read with section 16 (1) (d) of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act. His Excellency the President then referred the matter to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) for investigations focusing on the following issues:
a) The allegations levelled against the Executive Chairman by the former Honourable Minister of Energy and Power Development, Advocate Fortune Chasi.
b) Any other underlying corrupt practices by ZESA Board Members and within the electricity sector as a whole.
His Excellency the President further requested ZACC to complete its investigations and submit a Report of its findings within a period of four (4) weeks from the date of referral. ZACC completed its Interim Report on 4 September 2020 which has since been received by His Excellency the President. However, investigations remain in progress until their logical conclusion.
The Interim Report indicates that corruption investigations also covered the following issues:
1. The Intratek Gwanda Solar Project;
2. The Mutare Peaking Plant Project;
3. Conduct of the former Minister of Energy and Power Development in his dealings with ZESA;
4. Conduct of the officials in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development in their dealings with ZESA.
The Interim Report further examined corporate governance at ZESA and proffered recommendations on the subject.
At the commencement of the ZACC investigations, the Executive Chairman, Dr S Gata was accused of six (6) acts of misconduct namely:
i) Self-allocation of six vehicles for personal and
ii) Authorising an expenditure of zw$10 million for Christmas parties in Hwange and Kariba in 2019 without Board approval;
iii) Unilaterally installing solar equipment at his residence in Borrowdale using ZESA funds
iv) Setting up a Trust called ZESIT to undertake several ZESA projects;
v) Interfering with disciplinary process, in particular, that of Mrs Norah Tsomondo, the Company Secretary of the Zimbabwe Power Company (Pvt) Limited; and
vi) Allegedly authorizing the payment of ghost employees and his personal workers on the ZESA payroll under the misrepresentation that they were employed by ZESA.
The Interim Report cleared Dr Gata of the first four (4) allegations. With regards to the last two (2) allegations, ZACC is yet to conclude its investigations.
With regards to allegations against the Board members, the Interim Report indicates that the investigations are still in progress
His Excellency the President, being cognisant of the fact that ZESA is at the epicentre of the economic activity of the Nation and that it would not be desirable for this entity to operate below optimal efficiency due to lack of leadership at its helm, has directed as follows:
1. That the Executive Chairman of ZESA, Dr S Gata, while investigations are on-going, be allowed to carry on his responsibility as Executive Chairman;
2. That the Board members also continue in their positions until the finalization of the investigations; and
3. That the Minister of Energy and Power Development,
Hon Z Soda should examine corporate governance issues that have been raised in the ZACC Interim Report and present his recommendations on the same to His Excellency the President by 30 November 2020.
Dr M SM Sibanda
CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE PRESIDENT AND CABINET 15 September 2020