Zesa scandals: New minister urges implementation of forensic audit

Newly appointed Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda has been thrown into the deep end amid reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants the rot at Zesa Holdings cleansed.

Insiders told Zim Morning Post that top of the minister’s to-do-list is to implement the recommendations of the forensic audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The audit commissioned by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and Auditor-General’s Office in 2018, reveal how the power utility was systematically plundered and prejudiced of millions of US dollars through corruption and corporate governance deficiencies.

Despite recommending that due processes should be followed in the procurement and tendering procedures, the audit made it clear that some senior managers be disciplined, reassigned or dismissed for unprofessional conduct.

Zim Morning Post is in possession of the audit and contrary to its recommendations some managers have been disciplined but brought back into their original posts.

“Wilfred Shereni was redeployed to his original position as the Revenue Assurance manager yet the audit is very clear he was supposed to be redeployed if not terminated,” said a highly placed source.

The source said Shereni is specifically mentioned in the audit report.
According to the forensic audit Shereni is said to have “failed to sign contract addendums following pole mounting and labour variations.”

The audit also states that he failed to perform periodic reconciliations throughout the course of the prepaid meter project.

“Shereni also approved payments for prepaid meter installations without adequate supporting documentation.”

Despite all those allegations the suspended executive chairman Sydney Gata brought Shereni back into the fore to manage the same portfolio.

“This is absurd because what the audit recommended was not followed and the new minister wants the recommendations to be implemented.”

“In his inaugural meetings with various Zesa entities Soda highlighted that the first port of call for the power utility is to implement the audit recommendations so as to regain public confidence,” the source said.

Soda was appointed at a time Zesa projects have been marred by controversies with malpractices and plunder being identified across other Zesa subsidiaries while executives lead extravagant lifestyles.

Since time immemorial Zesa has been rocked by gross violation of multimillion-dollar tenders.

The irregular practises have cost Zesa millions of US dollars while struggling to keep the lights on.