Zesa procures luxury vehicle for suspended Gata?

UNDER-FIRE ZESA Holdings has reportedly procured a luxury vehicle, a land-cruiser VXR, which costs between US$65 000 to US$100 000, for the suspended executive chairman Sydney Gata, Zim Morning Post can report.

ZESA sources told this publication that before his suspension Gata was in the process of procuring a vehicle as per his contract.

“The process had commenced but we are not certain whether cabinet authority was availed because the then energy minister Fortune Chasi had not signed it,” the source said.

“You will have to check with the new minister Zhemu Soda.”

The Zim Morning Post checked with Soda who said he was not aware of the procured vehicle.

“The daily operations of ZESA are run by the board. I have not yet been informed of that acquisition so you will have to ask those in procurement department at ZESA,” Soda told Zim Morning Post.

Insiders said the procured vehicle violates a ministerial directive which stipulates the kind of operational vehicles for parastatal bosses.

The vehicle was delivered to ZESA Holdings on Friday last week and is currently parked in the basement.

The power utility is under intense scrutiny following a forensic audit conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), which revealed systematic plunder and prejudice of millions of US dollars through corruption and corporate governance deficiencies.

The probe also touched on vehicle scheme abuse, detailing how the employment contract between ZESA and former group chief executive officer (CEO) Josh Chifamba did not have a specified threshold or purchase limit for vehicles for him and was open to abuse.

The audit said between 2012 and 2017, ZESA bought four cars for Chifamba.

These include a Mercedes Benz S350 (US$209 000), Toyota Landcruiser (US$175 000), Mercedes Benz GL 350D (US$126 700) and Toyota Fortuner 3L Diesel (US$65 700).

Following reports of corruption President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month suspended Gata and the entire board, paving way for investigations.

Mnangagwa gave the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) a four-week-altimatum to investigate the corruption allegations.

Last week the Zim Morning Post reported that Zacc had completed its investigations and is now awaiting a directive for prosecutions to commence.

ZESA procurement official only identified as Safure could neither deny nor confirm that the power utility acquired a luxury vehicle for Gata.

“I cannot comment on the issue because it is against our protocols. We are not allowed to speak to the media. I am sure you know where to go if you want a comment,” Safure said.

Irregular practises have cost ZESA millions of US dollars while the power utility struggles to keep the lights on.