New Energy minister Fortune Chasi, is going after ZESA officials whom he said were possibly complicit in the matter. Soon after taking office in the ministry on the 15th May, Chasi commented on the Chivayo case saying he would make sure that $5 million the businessman received from ZESA is either recovered of the work delivered.
In a recent interview with The Standard, Chasi said that if the ZESA board does not show that urgent action is being taken in the Chivayo case, “a serious collision is in the offing.” He also questioned why ZESA has been asking for power tariff reviews given their inefficient procurement.
Said Chasi in the interview:
On the Chivayo case, I have no intention to abdicate the responsibility I have been given by the nation in requiring that Zesa must receive value for money. I am simply demanding compliance with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act, which cautions against recklessness with public property and funds.
It would be highly irresponsible of me were I to look askance in the face of a scandal of monumental volumes such as this. As minister of Energy, I am there to protect and further the public interest in all respects.
Zesa is owed $1,2 billion and that money must be recovered. Zesa imports very expensive power. That $5 million is a lot of money. It’s either I see the project having been enacted in accordance with the contract or the money itself! I expect that those at Zesa who are complicit in this saga ensure that he pays.
Acquittal on a criminal matter is no bar to civil liability. This type of profligacy will never happen again in this industry as long as I am superintending over it. The public is right to be angry over this and I’m obviously on their side.
The board must tell me what they have done about this matter. I must, on behalf of the public, be satisfied that sufficient and urgent action is being taken. In the absence of that, a serious collision is in the offing.
It is improper to ask for tariff hikes in the presence of poor and porous procurement systems, poor risk management and recklessness with public funds. All these add to the cost build-up with which the public is then lumbered with.
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