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Zesa Forensic Audit Now Complete, Says Minister

By Felex Share

The forensic audit report into the operations of Zesa Holdings is now complete and managers implicated in corruption and abuse of office face arrest, Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said yesterday.

About 20 Zesa managers were sent on mandatory leave in October to pave way for the audit and those cleared by the PriceWaterhouse (PWC) audit report, he said, will soon resume their duties.

Completion of the report comes amid reports that the Zesa Holdings board’s term expired this month and will not be extended.

The board was led by former Finance minister Dr Herbert Murerwa.

Minister Gumbo yesterday said auditors will present and defend their findings to him next week.

“There was a forensic audit that was instituted this year and the report is now out,” he said.

“It will be presented to me officially during the first week of January by the Auditor-General’s Office together with PWC. After that I will then brief the President and recommendations from the audit will be implemented. For the forensic (audit) to be instituted, there was a lot which was said in the ministry and it touched on several names. The audit will help to clear those who are innocent and also for the law to take its course on any wrongdoing that might have occurred. Those found guilty will be dealt with in terms of the law.”

Preliminary indications are that there was endemic corruption, violation of Government laws and poor corporate governance and unprocedural conduct in the awarding of tenders.

Some contracts were reportedly inflated without justification.

The report also points out to gross incompetence, negligence and inefficiency by some ZESA top officials.

On the term of office of the Zesa board, Dr Gumbo said: “We have asked them (board members) to step aside. Its term ended in June but was extended by six months until this December. We have asked them to step aside so that a new board is appointed. There is also a lot of restructuring going on in various subsidiaries and we are constituting the boards of four Zesa subsidiaries.”

He said in terms of power supply, his ministry would next year concentrate on increasing generating capacity at the country’s major power stations.

“A lot needs to be done in the coming year,” Dr Gumbo said.

“We want to ensure Hwange 7 and 8 expansion project is accelerated while the resuscitation work on four units at the same power station should be expedited. We have found those interested in carrying out the project. We want the generation capacity to be increased. Focus will also be on the Harare, Munyati and Bulawayo power stations where some works have to be carried out.”

With regard to Hwange 7 and 8, Zimbabwe has drawn down $199 million for the expansion project which is being carried out by SinoHydro of China.

The expansion project, expected to cost $1,5 billion, will see two new units being added, each contributing 300MW to the national grid.

That will take power station’s installed capacity to 1 520MW.

Source : The Herald

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