Zesa Holdings has appointed group financial controller Eliab Chikwenhere as the acting CEO of the power utility following the recent suspension of the executive chairman Sydney Gata and the entire board.
The ZESA board of directors was suspended by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week to pave way for investigations by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) into alleged corruption activities.
Chikwenhere will also chair the interim ZESA Group Executive Management Committee set up by the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.
Sitting in that committee will be acting managing director of the Zimbabwe Power Company Kenneth Maswera, acting head corporate services Florence Chibasa, acting head audit Admire Marandu and acting managing director of Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) Lovemore Chinaka.
Also, the acting head of legal, managing director of Powertel and head of information technology will sit in that committee.
“The major brief (of Chikwenhere appointment) is to ensure business continuity and security of electricity.
To assist Chikwenhere manage the group will be an Interim Group Executive Management Committee. The acting CEO (Chikwenhere) will chair that committee,” said a letter of appointment from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development seen by Business Times this week.
Initially, former Energy minister Fortune Chasi, had suspended Gata.
But, Gata hit back suspending the entire board and accused Chasi of undermining his efforts to weed out corruption and bad management at ZESA.
Gata also claimed Chasi was working in cahoots with people being investigated for corruption.
Few days before his suspension, Gata axed some of the power utility’s leadership team across the company’s strategic units.
Others were either suspended or demoted in a move seen as part of efforts by Gata to clean up ZESA’s governance structures compromised in the past few years. There were accusations of financial misdeeds with most executives fingered in either shoddy deals or ineptitude.
A forensic audit into the operations of ZESA and its subsidiaries, conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers also called for disciplinary action against managers suspected to have milked the power utility millions of dollars and misuse of resources. But, most of those fingered in the scam, were said to be now fighting in Chasi’s corner against Gata.
The fierce boardroom fight resulted in President Mnangagwa intervening.
Consequently, a defiant Gata and his entire board members who were now fighting in Chasi’s corner were suspended. Government, the sole shareholder of ZESA, is still pursuing the re-organisation of the top leadership structure of the power utility to remove redundancies, transform ZESA into a vibrant entity by amalgamating ZESA’s four units—ZETDC, Zimbabwe Power Company, Powertel and ZENT—into one integrated company in a bid to cut costs, weed out corruption and bad management and boost power generation and reduce inefficiencies at the State-owned entity.