The former Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) Group Chief Executive Officer Josh Chifamba splashed over US$600 000 on four top of the range vehicles between 2011 and 2017, according to a forensic audit report of the goings-on at the State-owned power utility firm.
The purchases came at a time when Zimbabwe was constantly being threatened with power cuts from South African power utility Eskom for non-payment of electricity imports.
This happened at a time when the debt and scandal-ridden power utility owed its local and international suppliers close to US$1 billion and is only managing to service interest accrued on loans without settling premiums, according to a report by Zim Morning Post.
According to details in the forensic audit done by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) which has exposed massive rot, abuse of Zesa funds, properties and irregularities in the procurement department as well as flouting of tender processes prejudicing the company of millions of dollars, Chifamba splashed US$600 000 on luxurious cars.
The audit report shows that between 2011 and 2017, Zesa bought cars for Chifamba every year against the company policy which stipulates that cars are bought after every five years for top managers.
The Audit report raised a red flag on the nature of contract which Chifamba entered with the power utility.
“We inspected the executive employment contract between ZESA Holdings (Private) Limited and Engineer Chifamba (Annexure E 3.1) and noted that he was entitled to a company vehicle with no threshold or purchase limit,” reads part of the audit report seen by Zim Morning Post
In buying vehicles for Chifamba, Zesa also bought top of the range vehicles for other managers which were above their deserved perks as stated in their contracts.
An insider at Zesa told Zim Morning Post that this was done to gag the junior managers and conceal corrupt activities which the senior managers were undertaking at the power utility company.
“The junior mangers were involved in activities they did not know , they thought that the bosses were doing them favors while they were being initiated in the cult of corruption,” said an insider at ZESA.
During this period Chifamba acquired a 2011 Mercedes Benz S320 valued at US$209 000, Land Cruiser 2012 make (US$176 000), Mercedes GL 2016 (US$127 000) and a Toyota Fortuner in 2017 at the cost of US$66 000.
The Toyota Fortuner was bought a few months before Chifamba’s contract expired in June 2018.
Chifamba was arrested in October 2018 for criminal abuse of office in the awarding of a contract involving Zesa’s unit Zent and an Indian firm, PME, for the supply of transformers and other equipment worth $35 million.
He was arrested together with Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri and his finance director Thokozani Dhliwayo.