Gata bounces back at ZESA

by Kundayi Masekesa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed that the suspended Executive Chairman of Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) ,Dr Sydney Gata be allowed to resume his responsibilities as the Executive Chairman of the entity, while investigations into his alleged corruption charges are being finalised.

In a statement released today by the Chief Secretary to The President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, the President directed that Dr Gata should carry on with his duties after being cognisant of the fact that ZESA is at the epicentre of the economic activities of the country, hence it should operate without any hassles.

“His Excellency the President ,being cognisant of the fact that ZESA is at the epicentre of the economic activities of the nation and that it would not be desirable for this entity to operate below optimal efficiency due to lack of leadership at its helm, has directed as follows:-

“That the Executive Chairman of ZESA,Dr S. Gata, while investigations are on-going, be allowed to carry on his responsibility as the Executive Chairman,” said Dr Sibanda.

Dr Sibanda further said that of the six acts of misconduct that Dr Gata was initially accused of, he has been exonerated on four of them, while investigations into the other two cases are still on going.

“The interim report cleared Dr Gata of the first four allegations. With regards to the last two allegations, ZACC is yet to conclude its investigations,” reads the statement.

At the commencement of the investigations Gata was being accused of allocating six ZESA vehicles for personal and family use, authorising an expenditure of ZWL 10 million for Christmas parties in Hwange and Kariba in 2019 without Board approval, unilaterally installing solar equipment at his residence in Borrowdale using ZESA funds and setting up a Trust called ZESIT to undertake several ZESA projects.

He has been cleared of all these charges.

Dr Gata is yet to be cleared on charges relating to interfering with the disciplinary process, in particular that of Mrs Norah Tsomondo and allegedly authorising the payment of ghost employees and his personal workers on the ZESA payroll under the misrepresentation that they were employed by ZESA.

According to Dr Sibanda, President Mnangagwa has also directed that the ZESA Board members be allowed to continue in their positions until the finalisation of the investigations.

The President further said that the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Zhemu Soda, should examine corporate governance issues that have been raised in the ZACC interim report and present his recommendations on the same to His Excellency, the President by 30 November 2020.

On 6 August this year, President Mnangagwa suspended the entire Zesa Holdings board, including executive chairman Dr Sydney Gata and directed that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) start investigations into corruption allegations against the Chairman and the board.

President Mnangagwa appointed the ZESA Board, last year to lead the turnaround of the parastatal, but corruption allegations levelled against the chairman, the board and some executive staff has been stifling work at the entity.