ZIMBABWE Power Company (ZPC) secretary, Nora Tsitsi Tsomondo appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court yesterday facing corruption charges after she allegedly concealed a transaction from her principals in a botched $1 billion Hwange tender.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Tsomondo (59) was not asked to plead when she appeared before magistrate Milton Serima who remanded her to August 15 on $300 bail.
Allegations are that between 2011 and 2018, ZPC undertook an engineering procurement and construction contract for the expansion of Hwange 7 and 8 power stations. The tender project was awarded to Chinese company SinoHydro Corporation at a contract price of $1,1 billion.
It is alleged in order to access funds, government represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development entered into a preferential buyer credit loan agreement with China-Exim Bank.
The agreement was novated to Hwange Electricity Supply Authority (HESCO) through an on-lending agreement. This prompted the need for notarial security cession agreement for the project which was in favour of China-Exim Bank in the sum of $4 501 166.
The State alleges on May 14, 2014, Tsomondo was requested by financial director Hubert Chiwara to register the notarial security cession agreement with the Registrar of Companies. Tsomondo advised Chiwara that the cost of registration would not exceed $100 000.
It is the State’s case that on the same day, Tsomondo wrote to Sheilla Mugugu Law Chambers requesting a quotation for legal fees for drafting, preparation for filling, lodging with the Registrar of Companies and the notarial deed of the security cession. Mugugu allegedly charged 2% of the $1,1 billion contract which was $5 001 166.
Tsomondo allegedly negotiated for a reduction which resulted in Mugugu invoicing $4 501 166. It is alleged on May 17 this year, Tsomondo went on to engage Mugugu for the registration without advising her principals that $100 000 was changed to $4 501 166.
The State alleges by so doing Tsomondo corruptly concealed a transaction which has an actual financial prejudice to ZPC of $4 501 166.
The offence came to light when Tsomondo tendered an invoice of $4 500 000 from Mugugu to Chiwara for payment instructions.
Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.