The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is sinking in debt and struggling to pay US$33 million that it owes to Eskom, a South African based electricity supplier, the Zim Morning Post has learnt.
This publication has it on good authority that a team from the finance department will be travelling to South Africa for negotiations with Eskom and propose a payment plan.
“A team will be travelling to Joburg to meet Eskom guys with view of proposing a payment plan.
“They already booked an appointment and will be flying out this week,” said our source.
The power utility owes its local and international suppliers close to US$1 billion and the country has been experiencing massive power outages crippling operations and production in industries.
Ironically, a forensic audit report revealed rampant corruption cost the institution millions of dollars.
Irregular contracts and extravagant purchases by senior management bled ZESA of millions of dollars that could have easily settled the debt and get the power utility on its feet.
A dubious company, Zebra Consultancy was awarded a contract to dig trenches without going to tender.
The company offered services to ZESA from September 7 2016 wherein a contract worth $USD1,6 million (for Harare province only) was signed valid for a period of one year.
The company is however not registered with the Registrar of CompanieS.
The power utility also lost money in irregular procurement procedures resulting in the purchase of equipment and machinery worth over US$1.5 million which is rusting away and lying idle at ZENT warehouse in Harare as it has not been commissioned.
The managers in the procurement department would connive with suppliers and pocket kickbacks while purchasing equipment which the power utility had no use of regardless of some of the brand new equipment having been lying idle since 1998.
To add salt to injury, ZESA bought top of the range vehicles for management as evidenced by the six cars bought for former Group Chief Executive officer Josh Chifamba.
Between 2011 and 2017, Zesa bought cars for Chifamba every year against the company policy which stipulates that cars are bought after every five years for top managers, raising a red flag on the nature of contract which Chifamba entered with the power utility. Chifamba received a 2011 Mercedes Benz S320 valued at US$209 000, Land Cruiser 2012 make (US$176 000), Mercedes GL 2016 (US$127 000) and a Toyota Fortuner in 2017 at the cost of US$66 000.