Parly hearing cancelled after Sakunda no-show

HARARE - A meeting of the Mines and Energy portfolio committee in Parliament was cancelled yesterday after Sakunda Holdings boss Kuda Tagwirei failed to show up after being summoned over the $250 million Dema Power Plant — set up in 2016 to provide emergency power in the wake of electricity shortages.

Tagwireyi was not immediately available for comment when contacted by telephone.

The Temba Mliswa-led Mines and Energy parliamentary portfolio committee wanted to quiz Kagwirei over alleged flouting of corporate governance procedures when the power plant was consummated.

This becomes the third time that Tagwirei has failed to appear before the committee.

Last year, he did not pitch-up after being invited more than once by the committee which was then chaired by now recalled Masvingo Central Zanu PF MP Daniel Shumba.
Curiously, Parliament has not been keen on preferring contempt of charges against him.

After yesterday’s no-show, acting committee chairperson Simbaneuta Mudarikwa told journalists that his committee had resolved to summon him again.

“He did not come despite the fact that he was aware that he was supposed to appear before this committee, so we are writing to him again to say please come, we want to discuss the Dema issue,” Mudarikwa said.

“He did not communicate anything, he did not sent an apology. He just did not pitch up, so we are writing him once more because this is the first time he has done so under this new committee and this new dispensation.

The controversial project has, since last year, been mothballed on the back of fuel challenges.

A short-term initiative implemented to alleviate the country’s power shortages, the diesel plant was spearheaded by the Tagwirei-led Sakunda Holdings — a major local fuel supplier.

It was meant to supply about 100 Megawatts (MW) per hour into the national grid at $0,15c/MW.

However, since the Daily News visited the site last year in July, the plant has not been operational.

Initially awarded National Project Status when it was initiated, the project saw Sakunda being exempt from paying duty on fuel imported for the project.

There have been allegations that part of the fuel was being sold on the black market, although there was no evidence to corroborate this.

Nonetheless, sources say the allegations led to government withdrawing the privilege although other sources say  Sakunda decided to halt operations at the site — which has about 225 generators — as it was realising losses of between $800 000 and $1,3 million from the plant monthly.

When the Daily News visited last year, ex-workers who spoke to the crew said the plant had been offline save for an occasional maintenance exercise which would see one of the generators being switched on in-between periods.

The plant is located less than 500m from Murape Secondary School and about two-and-a-half kilometres from the tollgate, which leads to Hwedza, and reportedly produced toxic carbon monoxide from the burning of 460 000 litres of diesel daily.

Reportedly, erected without the mandatory environmental impact assessment, the plant is less than 350m away from Chitate Village, exposing scores of people to polluted air daily.

With a local demand of about 1 400MW, the country — which has been struggling to pay regional power suppliers that include South Africa’s Eskom and Mozambique’s
Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa — Zimbabwe has a supply of just over 1 000MW and relies on imports to plug the deficit.

Comments (2)

Why do we as a Nation, and these guys , as our elected representatives continue to tolerate this shit ? There are consequences for ignoring summons to a Parliament Hearing....apply them to this fool who thinks that his accessing our tax dollars has suddenly made him untouchable. ED where are you on this matter ??

TruthSaid - 6 February 2018

Why do we as a Nation, and these guys , as our elected representatives continue to tolerate this shit ? There are consequences for ignoring summons to a Parliament Hearing....apply them to this fool who thinks that his accessing our tax dollars has suddenly made him untouchable. ED where are you on this matter ??

TruthSaid - 6 February 2018

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