Three Zesa bosses appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday facing two counts of swindling the parastatal of over $11,8 million in a tender scam.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Zesa Holdings group chief executive Joshua Chifamba (59), Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managing director Julian Chinembiri (53) and finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo (51) appeared before chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, who remanded them to October 19 on $3 000 bail each.
As part of their bail conditions, they were each asked to surrender title deeds of a property in the value of $150 000, reside at a given address, report twice a week to the CID commercial crimes division and not to visit their work place for a period of two weeks.
The trio was also ordered not to interfere with 13 witnesses who include, Howard Choga, Freddy Mazanda, Phillip Chisango, Philimon Dhafana, Norman Chengeta, Nyasha Chizu, Judith Tsamba, Teererai Mutasa, Eniah Chikwenhere, Julius Mapipi, Simplicio Tachiona, Soul Sabau, Stanley Ncube and Freeman Chivhanga.
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 specified the value of the projects as $35 million, but there was no provision for dates of delivery of the equipment. The court heard that article 12 of the agreement defined duration of the contract as two years.
Zesa Holdings made an advance payment of $35 million from Afreximbank into PME China Trust Commercial Bank, in New Delhi, for the project.
The State alleges the payment was made without a performance guarantee and exposed the State to a loss of $35 million. After the payment was made, Chinembiri allegedly barred the engineering department from proceeding to PME to conduct a factory assessment test before delivery of the consignment as per procedure to ascertain the quality of equipment before its dispatch from India.
It is alleged PME supplied material worth $16 341 428 as of February 25, 2016, with ZETDC losing $11 836 146.
Instead of following up on the delivery, on November 21, 2017, Chifamba and his accomplices allegedly convened an executive management board of directors meeting, which resolved to set off $7 856 047 purportedly against an outstanding debt owed to PME and Zent.
It is alleged that since confirmation of the agreement, only Aerodrome and Senga projects were completed, while Chiwaridzo and Cowdray Park remain incomplete due to non-delivery of outstanding materials by PME.
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.
It was alleged that former Energy minister, Samuel Undenge wrote a letter directing Chinembiri to engage the media consultancy firm only to discover that ZETDC had already taken Fruitful Communications on board.
Undenge was on July 20 this year sentenced to four years for issuing a $12 650 contract to Fruitful Communications without due tender. The public relations firm did not work for the amount it received.
Michael Reza appeared for the State.