By Fidelis Munyoro and Anesu Madiye
ZESA Holdings chief executive Joshua Chifamba and two top executives yesterday appeared before a Harare magistrate charged with criminal abuse of office after allegedly engaging in corrupt deals with an Indian Company, PME, for the supply of transformers.
The deals are reportedly worth $35 million.Chifamba (59) was charged along with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managing director Julian Chinembiri (53) and finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo (51).
They were represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu and were not asked to plead to two counts of criminal abuse of office when they appeared before Chief magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe.
They were remanded to October 19 on $3 000 bail each, coupled with stringent conditions.
The State did not oppose bail.
Other bail conditions include residing at their given addresses, to report every Monday and Friday at the Commercial Crimes Division at Harare Central Police Station.
They were also ordered to surrender their passports to the Clerk of Court and title deeds worth $250 000 each, as well as not to not interfere with State witnesses until the matter is finalised.
The prosecutor, Mr Michael Reza, told the court that sometime in March 2012, ZETDC and ZESA Enterprises (ZENT) (Pvt) Ltd entered into a two-year business transaction with an India-based company, PME Power Solutions, for the design, supply of equipment, engineering and supervision for the commissioning of substations at Chiwaridzo in Bindura, Senga in Gweru, Aerodrome and Cowdry Park in Bulawayo, without going to tender.
It is alleged that on August 2012, the three connived and caused the transfer of an advance payment of $35 000 000 from Afrex Bank into PME China Trust Commercial Bank in New Delhi for the design, supply of equipment, engineering and supervision of the alleged projects.
The advance payment was allegedly made without a performance guarantee thereby exposing the State to the loss of $35 000 000.
The payment allegedly comprised of $28 177 575 for the project and other distribution materials while the difference was for PME services.
The court also heard that after the payment of $35 000 000, Chinembiri allegedly barred the engineering department from proceeding to PME to conduct a factory assessment test before delivery of consignment.
Mr Reza further alleged that as of February 2013, PME had only supplied equipment valued at $6 056 440. Despite their receipt of full payment for the project, PME had allegedly supplied material worth $16 341 428 as of February 2016.
It is also the State’s contention that to date no further equipment was received from PME thereby exposing ZEDTC to the loss of the difference of $11 836 146,80.
“Instead of following up on the delivery, on 21 November, 2017, the accused convened an executive management board of directors meeting, which resolved to set off $7 856 047 purportedly against an outstanding debt owed to PME by ZENT,” said Mr Reza.
On the second count, the court heard that in November 2014, the trio connived and hand-picked Fruitful Communications (Pvt) Ltd for advertising services without going to tender leading to the payment of $3 750 in December 2014. The Herald.