Friday, 17 May 2019

CHINESE TENDER SCAM : ZESA BOSS ACQUITTED


Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) secretary Nora Tsitsi Tsomondo has been acquitted on charges of concealing a transaction from her principals in a botched $1 billion Hwange tender.

In her ruling, Harare regional magistrate Ms Lucy Mugwari said there was no evidence linking Tsomondo to the offence.

“Through the evidence of all the witnesses, there was no evidence to prove the accused acted in a corrupt manner,” she said.

She also said that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case and the two men who were her principals had indicated that they were not deceived. 

Allegations were that between 2011 and 2018, ZPC undertook an engineering procurement and construction contract for the expansion of Hwange 7 and 8 power stations.

The tender was awarded to Chinese company SinoHydro Corporation at a contract price of $1,1 billion.

It is alleged that in order to access funds, the Government represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development entered into a preferential buyer credit loan agreement with China-Exim Bank.

The agreement was novated to Hwange Electricity Supply Authority (HESCO) through an on-lending agreement. 

This prompted the need for notarial security cession agreement for the project which was in favour of China-Exim Bank in the sum of $4 501 166.

The State alleges on May 14, 2014, Tsomondo was requested by financial director Hubert Chiwara to register the notarial security cession agreement with the Registrar of Companies. Tsomondo advised Chiwara that the cost of registration would not exceed $100 000.

It is the State’s case that on the same day, Tsomondo wrote to Sheilla Mugugu Law Chambers requesting a quotation for legal fees for drafting, preparation for filling, lodging with the Registrar of Companies and the notarial deed of the security cession. Mugugu allegedly charged 2 percent of the $1,1 billion contract which was $5 001 166.

Tsomondo allegedly negotiated for a reduction which resulted in Mugugu invoicing $4 501 166.

It is alleged on May 17 this year, Tsomondo went on to engage Mugugu for the registration without advising her principals that $100 000 was changed to $4 501 166.

The State alleged by so doing Tsomondo corruptly concealed a transaction which has an actual financial prejudice to ZPC of $4 501 166. Herald

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