SENIOR STAFF WRITER
email@example.comZESA Holdings executive chairperson Sydney Gata has accused Energy minister Fortune Chasi of undermining efforts to curb corruption at the power company and of working in cahoots with people being investigated for graft, the Daily News reports.
But Gata has poured cold water on his suspension.
“…I am now deeply involved in uprooting the ‘disturbing serious levels of corruption’ in the company. There is no doubt that the so-called allegations against me are fighting back efforts by those who have been behind the ‘disturbing serious levels of corruption.’ In writing as you did in your letter …, you may have unwittingly fallen into the agenda of the very people I am mandated to uproot. Your letter is, therefore, with respect, an impediment to my efforts,” wrote Gata.
“Ministerial directive contrary to law. The crux of the letter … is the following sentence in its fifth paragraph ‘In this regard, you are directed, as the board, to immediately institute investigations into the allegations…’“Stripped to the bone, this sentence records a directive by the honourable minister to the ‘board of directors.’ In what circumstances may a line minister issue directives to the board of a public entity? This is a question of law. I have been advised that under the law as provided for in the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act), this particular directive is unlawful.“The Public Finance Management Act does not permit it either. In terms of the mandate given to me as executive chairman, I have to advise you, honourable minister, that the law must be followed to the letter. In this case, the directive is contrary to the law and cannot be acted upon,” Gata said.
“It is clear from the foregoing that I respectfully take the view that your letter … ought not be the basis of the way forward between you (as the line minister) and the executive chairman. I believe this a matter that requires, on an urgent basis, the mediation role of the Office of the President and Cabinet. I will engage that mediation role without delay.“Regrettably your letter has created a state of affairs where the board whose members are purportedly seeking to implement your directive are no longer in a position to serve the interest of the company. I am obliged to act immediately in terms of my mandate as executive chairman to protect the interest of Zesa Holdings,” added Gata.
Although Gata did not mention the suspended board members, the Zesa board was made up of Ashok Chakravati, Rosemary Siyachitema, Caroline Mathonsi, James Muzangaza, Jonathan Wood, Stella Nkomo, Wadzanai Chigwa, Peace Rugube and executive director Eliab Chikwenhere.
Chasi had instructed the board to probe Gata for allegedly diverting some Zesa projects to entities associated with him, employing ghost workers and using company funds for his personal benefit.
He said Gata had been suspended and should be barred from entering the power utility company’s premises until investigations were completed.