ZESA in fraudulent board meetings to cover up corruption

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Harare – A storm is brewing at the scandal ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), amid reports power utility company fraudulently altered board meeting minutes and even recorded fake board meetings, in an attempt to cover up corruption, the Mail and Telegraph can reveal.

Documents seen by this publication show that fraudulent board meetings and minutes were prepared by the top ZESA management in order to cover up corrupt tracks which saw some companies being awarded contracts without due process.

The report puts ZESA Group chief executive officer Josh Chifamba and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managing director, Julian Chinembiri and finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo, under further scrutiny as they currently face charges of criminal abuse of office after engaging in deals with an Indian Company, PME Power Solutions worth $35 million.

An ongoing forensic audit of ZESA Holdings has already requested documents showing stakeholder and procurement committee minutes from the 1st of January 2014 to the 31st of December 2017, which includes tender and supplier selection documents as well as board meeting minutes.

During Chifamba’s bail hearing state prosecutor, Michael Reza told the court that in 2017, the CEO and his two colleagues had organised a board meeting with the intent to put aside over $7 million for PME apparently to pay an outstanding debt from ZENT.

The document also states that board resolutions were forged to cover murky financial deals in ZESA Holdings subsidiaries, ZETDC and the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

The falsifying of board meeting minutes and board resolutions sheds light on why the parastatal continuously underperformed and the complicity of those at the very top of the organisation.

ZESA Holdings has had a troubled history and cases of corruption and malpractice have led to interminable power outages which have hurt local industry and led to its own financial insolvency.

In 2014, The Financial Gazette reported the State Procurement Board SPB and ZPC were involved in a scandal, awarding $183 million in tenders to losing bidders Intratrek Zimbabwe (Private) Limited then owned by Wicknell Chivayo and ZTE Corporation without having to re-advertise as required by law.

In 2016, The Standard reported Chivayo was awarded deals worth $441 million despite his 2004 conviction for fraud.

In 2017, The Zimbabwe Independent reported that the power company was “technically insolvent” as its debt had ballooned to $1 billion.

The documents seen by this publication show that the auditors have requested information regarding specifically the power utility’s deals with PME.

These include transfer agreements, all documents relating to payments made to PME and all “relevant communications” between the two entities.