Sydney Gata hits back, suspends 8 board members
This comes after Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi earlier this week ordered the same board to investigate Gata on an array of corruption allegations, among them grabbing five company vehicles for personal use.
But Gata has hit back, suspending eight board members, some of whom he alleged were corrupt and facing imminent arrest.
“I have taken a decisive initial action to restore order by suspending eight board members, pending disciplinary action by the appointing authority,” Gata said in a statement thanking Zesa workers for rallying behind him.
“Furthermore, several arrests are pending on corruption charges including board members and senior managers.
“Furthermore, contrary to feeble rumours on my suspension, I assure you in terms of our treasured constitution, only the appointing authority can dispense these powers.”
Although Gata did not mention the board members suspended, 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.
The Daily News is reliably informed that Wood reportedly did not take up the board post after his appointment.
Chasi 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 is also accused of splurging “$10 million on two lavish parties in Hwange and Kariba and $2 million on alcohol alone” when he was re-appointed last year.
But Zesa workers have come out in full support of Gata, dismissing allegations against him as “unwarranted character assassination” and meant to scandalise him.
“The workers have witnessed a unique rebirth of Zesa in terms of its service delivery to consumers as well as the fair treatment of employees.
“During these past three days, prophets of doom have not stopped at anything to throw missiles at Gata and in clear acts of paid hatchet-men, some news reporters have been at pains to scandalise our executive chairman with the obvious backing of some dismissed elements that are yet to prove their purity at an altar of an internal hearing that has been set for them to answer to corporate crimes that have in themselves bled Zesa to the wilt,” the workers said in a statement.
“Before the appointment of Gata to the position of executive chairperson for the fourth time, employees at Zesa had been reduced to destitution as past executives never bothered to care for their welfare as they only ensured they corruptly continued to selfishly pack their feeding trough with excess loot.”
On assumption of office in November last year, Gata suspended and dismissed over 15 executives from the power utility company after accusing them of graft.
The workers said Gata must not be swayed from ensuring the dismissed executives who have corrupt cases face the music.
“We would like to take this opportunity to advise the nation in no uncertain terms as workers, we are solidly in support of Dr Gata and any attempts to subvert his vision of transforming the business of Zesa would not be taken lightly, but would attract a national uprising in solidarity with his pro-worker and nation stance,” the workers said.
They blasted the previous administration under fired former chief executive officer Josh Chifamba.
The workers said since Gata’s appointment, the country’s power supply had improved with no load-shedding.
They pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Chasi to give Gata a chance to turn around Zesa. Gata thanked workers for supporting him.
“I know so well that for a meagre salary, you have faced danger and death to provide magetsi (electricity) to our beloved nation, so that industry can restart, a winter crop can be harvested once again, mortuaries can operate and even the corruption cartels of criminals, senior managers and board members can watch Netflix in the leafy suburbs of Harare,” he said.