Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) allegedly awarded a US$250 million tender to Sakunda Holdings for the installation of the 200MW Dema Diesel Power Plant in violation of the country’s procurement procedures.

This came out during a Public Accounts Parliamentary Portfolio committee oral evidence hearing from ZESA officials on Monday.

Committee chair, Tendai Biti described the deal as “atrocious” and demanded answers to several questions relating to the opaque deal.

“Who corruptly awarded Sakunda the US$250 million Dema Power Plant deal and why? How did ZESA get a US$35 million loan from Afreximbank without Parliamentary approval,” asked Biti.

Sakunda Holdings is owned by prominent but controversial businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a close ally to Emmerson Mnangagwa.

During the committee meeting, Paurina Mupariwa said: “According to the Auditor General, the Dema Diesel Power Plant project was a national project hence the Energy ministry gave ZESA the authority to procure through special formal tender process.

ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata admitted to the committee the deal was “bad” and requested to respond in writing to the questions posed by the MPs.

Biti adjourned the meeting to next week Monday.