05 March 2014, Harare – Bickering between Zimbabwe’s Zesa Holdings and the State Procurement Board has stalled the installation of prepaid meters that are supposed to be mounted on poles to curb meter tempering and power theft.
It also emerged that the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda had requested a list of problematic tenders as part of the programme of action on the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transforma- tion.
Meter tempering has resulted in Zesa losing at least US$10 million monthly in potential revenue.
To stop the vice, Zesa in August last year requested variation of the tender so that prepaid meters would be mounted on poles than on houses.
The power utility accuses the SPB of stalling the variation while the latter says the former had breached procurement regulations by varying terms of the tender without seeking authority from the board.
A Chinese firm, ZTE Corporation is at the centre of the controversy after Zesa cancelled its tender for allegedly supplying “poor” quality meters.
Zesa accused the SPB of protecting ZTE Corporation’s interests by insisting that the power utility must conclude its case with the Chinese firm despite the fact that the two parties had signed a contract terminating agreement.
But the SPB has not yet approved the request claiming the power utility was failing to justify its request and has since given Zesa up to this Thursday to justify the variation, failing which would see the request being rejected.
To that end, Zesa officials accused the SPB of interfering with its operations by seeking to protect the interests of ZTE Corporation.
In correspondences between Zesa and SPB seen by The Herald, the former indicated that it acted above board when it terminated the tender.
“ZTE’s contract was cancelled after they failed to remedy the situation and the cancellation was communicated to them in writing,” said Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri in a letter dated September 18, 2013.
“In subsequent contract termination meetings, conditions of contract termination were discussed and agreed on, refer to “contract variation form”.
– The Herald