Harare :Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development minister Fortune Chasi was sacked yesterday after being accused of taking bribes , corruption and abuse of power.
President Mnangagwa showed Chasi the door just over a year after replacing Joram Gumbo in a cabinet reshuffle.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said
Chasi had been fired for “conduct of government business (that) had
become incompatible with the President’s expectations.”
Mnangagwa accuse Chasi of taking a bribe of US$150,000 through his wife from businessman Farai Jere who hoped the bribe would win him favour in deals involving the ministry.
” Jere has been paying bribes to senior staffers in the ministry to ensure this deals go through. He is alleged to have paid Josh Chifamba the former CEO of ZESA, Minister Joram Gumbo and went on to bribe the new Energy Minister Chasi”, a source said.
“At one moment he was heard complaining that Chasi’s wife is putting him under pressure to pay the US$150 000 that he had promised to pay Minister Fortune Chasi and he ended up paying US$50 000 and promised to pay the balance later. He was complaining that he doesn’t see the role of
Minister Chasi because he is not operational. Chasi pushed for the Mutare peaking plant to be approved by Cabinet and was only stopped by president Mnangagwa after the then Interim ZESA Board chair economist Professor Ashok Chakravati raised a red flag”, the source added.
Chasi’s exit is believed to be linked to his recent bruising battle with ZESA’s executive chairman Sydney Gata who has been married to Mnangagwa’s niece, Angie Mayahle, since 2014.
Late last month, the Mazowe South MP suspended Gata over corruption allegations, but Gata hit back accusing him of abusing his power and calling him an “impediment to my efforts… to uprooting corruption at ZESA”. Gata also dismissed Chasi’s directive to other board members to investigate him, stating that “the directive is contrary to the law and cannot be acted upon.”
Gata also told Chasi that he was seeking to activate the mediation role of the Office of the President and Cabinet “without delay.”
Mnangagwa subsequently suspended the entire board at the power utility while ordering an investigation into the allegations of wrong-doing. It was not clear on Friday if the “mediation” led to Chasi’s dismissal.
Gata has two children with Angie, described by some as Mnangagwa’s “most-loved niece.” She has reportedly invested in several solar projects, backed by Mnangagwa, with the aim of selling power back to ZESA.
“Don’t you know that when Sydney Gata divorced Regina Ntombana Mugabe (half-sister to the late former president Robert Mugabe) he married his long-time girlfriend, Angeline Mayahle, from his home area of Chipinge?” the source asked. “The elder sister to Angeline, Moline Mayahle, has three children with Emmerson Mnangagwa. This is how Gata got the controversial appointment in the first place… they are literally joined at the hip,” the source added.