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Former energy Minister Fortune Chasi faces arrest

By Andrew Murenha

FORMER Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, who was fired from Cabinet by President Emmerson Mnangagwa three months ago, is facing arrest for corruption.

The energetic and productive Mazowe South Member of Parliament for Zanu-PF was handed the crucial Ministry in May 2019, which was a promotion from the transport Ministry where he was deputizing Joel Biggie Matiza.

After his appointment, analysts remarked that President Mnangagwa was setting Chasi for failure by handing him a “live snake” as the problems facing the energy Ministry went back before even the corruption-prone Joram Gumbo’s appointment.

Just over a year into the job, President Mnangagwa in August this year fired “in terms of some provisions of the Zimbabwe Constitution”. The Presidency did not elaborate on circumstances leading to Chasi’s sacking.

A week before being fired from Cabinet, Chasi had suspended ZESA executive chairperson Sydney Gata and the entire ZESA management. Chasi further urged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to investigate Gata, who was accused of allegedly converting five company vehicles to his own use, throwing a $10 million Christmas party and setting up of an unsanctioned gold mining trust.

Gata fought back and accused Chasi of meddling in ZESA affairs and for allegedly spending thousands of dollars donated by the parastatal on foreign trips. The President later on reinstated Gata and his fellow board members.

Now, in the latest developments, Chasi has been sucked into double dipping allegations. The allegations are that Chasi was getting allowances from both government and parastatals under his purview such as ZESA and ZERA during his tenure as the Minister.

The Business Times reported this Thursday that “there has been a push to get Chasi arrested over the matter”.

The publication quoted sources saying that some directors at the energy ministry, who themselves are facing double dipping allegations, were the ones now implicating Chasi.

Chasi rubbished the allegations saying this was just a plot to tarnish his image and he was prepared to have his day in court.

“It was not in my province to look for allowances from any parastatal. Not even once did I give an instruction to anyone to get money from both the ministry and parastatals,” Chasi told Business Times.

“This duty falls squarely on the permanent secretary of the ministry and in this case (Gloria) Magombo.

“I don’t know when and where I am alleged to have done this. I will be very happy to answer the law on the matter.”

Energy and Power Development permanent secretary, Gloria Magombo, was herself grilled by the ZACC last week for corruption allegations and double dipping as well.

Allegations are that she was drawing a salary from the country’s energy regulator, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) despite her appointment to the Energy ministry.

Magombo was the chief executive officer of ZERA, until her appointment as permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Power Development in 2018.

Magombo allegedly continued to receive her salary from ZERA and another one from the government as permanent secretary.

Meanwhile, ZACC spokesperson John Makamure, confirmed that Magombo had been called in for questioning last week by the anti-graft body but declined to disclose the allegations being levelled against the top government official.

“I can confirm that she was called in for a warned and cautioned statement. The Commission is waiting for certain vital information before finalising the docket,” Makamure said. – Zimbabwe Voice / Business Times ■

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