By Philemon Jambaya
Zimbabwe Power Company Managing Director Robson Chikuri is under fire for inflating prices of Unit 4 Boiler Outage Works at Hwange Power Station, from US$808 580 to US$2 205 306, a price adjustment of close to US$1,3 million, the Zim Morning Post can reveal.
ZPC is a Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) subsidiary. In a letter dated 29 March 2019 directed to the ZPC Acting Managing Director following a Special Oversight Committee held on 21 March 2019, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) chief executive officer Nyasha Chizu raised a red flag over the issue of the four boiler outages.
“Members of Special Oversight Committee noted that the previous authority granted by the State Procurement Board for unit 3 Boiler statutory outage works at Hwange Power Station in 2016 amounted to US$808,580.15 vs the current outage of US$2,205,306.95,” reads the letter.
Special Oversight Committee members demanded that the Accounting Officer should explain the difference on the cost.
Documents state that “the members agreed to a no objection but subject to provision of clarification on the costs and highlighted that such evidence should be furnished to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee before contracting.”
“Members indicated that the Accounting Officer should explain the variation on cost that is similar, members also expressed concern that there was no due diligence on cost.”
Chikuri is also under fire for splashing at least a million dollars purchasing luxury cars for top managers at ZPC.
The abuse of funds comes at a time when Zesa has engaged some of its international creditors like Eskom which are threatening to stop supplying electricity over an unsettled $80 million debt in a bid to at least secure a payment plan
This is also happening at a time when the debt and scandal-ridden power utility owes its local and international suppliers close to US$1 billion and is only managing to service interests accrued on loans without settling premiums
Sources at PRAZ said that if the authorities at ZPC do not act and give a proper explanation to justify the sudden price increase, they will face the music.
“Monitoring and Evaluation committee will deal with the case and if the comrades at ZPC do not act they will face the music and remember the President does not want people who are corrupt, I am sure that these guys will dance to the music which they played.” Zim Morning Post