‘Undenge, Zesa board must step down’

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HARARE – Welshman Ncube’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has demanded that Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge and the entire Zesa board step down with immediate effect to save the power utility’s image and coffers.

This comes as the Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman and the energy parastatal have put $600 million worth of the country’s critical power projects in the hands of controversial characters, including Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratrek Zimbabwe (Intrarek).

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“The MDC finds the statement issued by minister Undenge to be frivolous, mind boggling and factually hollow,” Kurauone Chihwayi, the MDC national spokesperson said.

“We are shocked by the level of incompetence, unprofessionalism and intellectual bankruptcy exhibited by Undenge and the Zesa board when they released $5 million to a company owned by… Sir Wicknell.”

As it is, a storm is brewing around Undenge after the trained economist admitted that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) had paid Intratrek without bank guarantees.

Undenge said: “It is true that each time public funds are advanced to service providers, there is a risk that the goods or service, as the case maybe, may not be delivered.

“To mitigate against this risk, it is a standard requirement that a bank guarantee is secured against possible failure to deliver.

“Such an inevitable requirement should have been considered in the case of $5 million advance payment to Intratrek by the ZPC.

“In this regard and noting the many energy projects that we are embarking upon, it was necessary for me to engage both management and the ZPC board chairman on this issue.

“Common ground has been established on same and in future, the relevant procedures and requirements shall be adhered to.”

He added: “Given the above, it is highly improbable or unlikely that there will be any real prejudice to the ZPC in respect of this particular advance.

“Thus, in this ministry’s assessment, whereas the risk was there, in reality, there will be no financial prejudice and this is in no way exonerating those who erred.”

However, Chihwayi says it was high time for President Robert Mugabe to wake up and attend to the mess and corruption in companies under his armpit.

“The abuse and theft of borrowed money meant for capital projects by sharks claiming to be protected by …Mugabe is now at the most disturbing and damaging level,” the nomadic politician said.

“…Mugabe should either force …Undenge to step down or fire him or read the riot act to all the criminals who are at the centre of crippling State enterprises.

“Since the release of the money, the starved… nation has endured restless insults and bragging by this Wicknell who claims to be a… brother of Robert Mugabe junior.

“It is now clear and beyond any reasonable doubt that those Zanu PF criminals are behind the looting at Zesa, local authorities and other State enterprises.”

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