ZETDC, Liquid Telecoms deal under scrutiny

TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution and Transmission Company (ZETDC) and Liquid Telecoms are in talks to renegotiate a trans-infrastructure optical fibre cable agreement signed nine years ago amid revelations the State-owned entity was not benefiting from the deal, Business Times can report.

The parties, according to an addendum seen by Business Times,  agreed that Liquid Telecoms would buy all the equipment including personal plant equipment to be used for the implementation of the project and that Liquid Telecoms will assume ownership of a certain assortment of equipment.

Concerns were being raised within ZESA Holdings group that the contract resulted in ZETDC giving ownership to Liquid on part of the transmission lines which the wires doubling as fibre and earth wire were laid.  ZETDC had to remove its earth wire to enable Liquid to lay theirs.

Business Times heard this week that ZESA Holdings executive chairman Sydney Gata and the board have on several occasions questioned the deal hence the latest moves to renegotiate the transaction.

A well-placed source who requested anonymity told this publication that the two parties were not forthcoming at first which saw the matter at one time going before the courts.

But latest indications show that the two parties are willing to renegotiate.

“There have been negotiations for some time now around the contract and what is only left now is for the boards of the two parties to deliberate and come up with final positions. The two parties have not been forthcoming and various allegations have been raised around the contract but the two are now on the negotiation table,” the source said.

This publication is also informed that the current board’s Audit and Risk Committee has since instructed Gata and management at ZESA Holdings to resolve this contractual issue.

Gata promised to call back when Business Times called yesterday. Liquid Telecoms did not respond to questions sent to them yesterday.

This is not the first time that ZETDC has been in the eye of a storm.

Recently, there were allegations that ZETDC was losing millions of dollars through an intricate web of employees that manipulate Information Technology Systems. According to an internal report seen by this publication, this  practice has been happening for years and a number of people have been dismissed from work for defrauding ZETDC of revenue through manipulation with billing IT systems. 

Despite leakages in the IT systems, no proper external Audit has to date been done to ascertain the extent to which ZETDC has been prejudiced. In addition, the report further noted that ZETDC is using out-dated billing and prepaid systems prone to manipulation.

Recently an IT expert at ZETDC Darlington Chiputura was arrested after a whistle blower reported to ZESA Loss Control and the  Zimbabwe Republic Police.

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