Zimbabwe Power Company secretary acquitted

ZIMBABWE Power Company (ZPC) secretary, Nora Tsitsi Tsomondo who was facing corruption charges has been found not guilty and acquitted by a Harare magistrate after a full trial.

Harare magistrate Lucie Mugwari ruled that the State had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Tsomondo had committed an offense.

Tsomondo was accused of concealing a transaction from her principals in a botched $1 billion Hwange tender.

Allegations were that back between 2011 and 2018, ZPC undertook an engineering procurement and construction contract for the expansion of Hwange 7 and 8 power stations.

The tender project was awarded to Chinese company SinoHydro Corporation at a contract price of $1,1 billion.

It was alleged in order to access funds, government represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development entered into a preferential buyer credit loan agreement with China-Exim Bank.

 The agreement was novated to Hwange Electricity Supply Authority (HESCO) through an on-lending agreement. This prompted the need for notarial security cession agreement for the project which was in favour of China-Exim Bank in the sum of $4 501 166.

The State alleged on May 14, 2014, Tsomondo was requested by financial director Hubert Chiwara to register the notarial security cession agreement with the Registrar of Companies. Tsomondo advised Chiwara that the cost of registration would not exceed $100 000.

It was the State’s case that on the same day, Tsomondo wrote to Sheilla Mugugu Law Chambers requesting a quotation for legal fees for drafting, preparation for filling, lodging with the Registrar of Companies and the notarial deed of the security cession. Mugugu allegedly charged 2% of the $1,1 billion contract which was $5 001 166.

Tsomondo was accused of negotiating for a reduction which resulted in Mugugu invoicing $4 501 166. It was alleged on May 17 this year, Tsomondo went on to engage Mugugu for the registration without advising her principals that $100 000 was changed to $4 501 166.

The State alleged that by so doing Tsomondo corruptly concealed a transaction which has an actual financial prejudice to ZPC of $4 501 166.

The offence was believed to have come to light when Tsomondo tendered an invoice of $4 500 000 from Mugugu to Chiwara for payment instructions.

The State however failed to prove this case and Tsomondo is now a free woman.