Tuesday, 16 March 2021

GATA IN THE PARLY GUTTER

ZESA Holdings executive board chairperson Sydney Gata yesterday struggled for answers after he was cornered by the Tendai Biti-led Public Accounts Committee to explain how the parastatal secured a US$35 million loan from the Afreximbank without parliamentary approval.

Besides the opaque US$35m loan deal, the committee also questioned the awarding of the Gwanda solar project to Wicknell Chivayo, PME transformer deal as well as Sakunda Holdings’ Dema Power project.

Zesa was supposed to receive transformers from an Indian supplier named PME, but the company failed to supply despite being paid in full.

Gata admitted that members of his delegation were not competent to respond to most of the questions as they were not involved when the deals were sealed.

“We have noted the questions down and we shall respond in writing. The managers who were supposed to respond to those questions are not here but we can research the facts and write to this honourable committee in response to these questions,” Gata said.

In response, Biti said: “I’m disappointed with the management of Zesa for failing to appear before this committee on a matter which they knew they had to answer on specific matters, especially the matter of the 2019 forensic audit report.

“We express disappointment that Zesa did not come armed with the relevant personnel that was present at that time to help answer the committee’s specific questions.

“Our disappointment is exacerbated by the fact that you brought a large team to the committee and that gave us hope that we have an arsenal, but you failed to give us answers. So we hope that this won’t happen in the future.”

“We adjourn this meeting to next week Monday same time,” Biti said as he warned Gata and his team against absconding the meeting. Newsday

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