TOP security officials, Zanu PF bigwigs and senior government functionaries owe the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills for water supplied to their farms.
As a result, Zinwa is now failing to pay its employees and has introduced austerity measures which include the termination of medical aid assistance, the Zimbabwe Independent can exclusively reveal. Despite failing to settle the bills, the bigwigs have applied for winter wheat cropping support under the command agriculture programme, which will see them requiring large volumes of water.
Documents show that Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Constantino Chiwenga owes Zinwa US$80 000 in unpaid bills while Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, retired Lieutenant-Colonel Boniface Chidyausiku, who owns Mufenje Farm, has arrears amounting to US$45 000.
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri owes Zinwa US$40 000, while Local Government minister and Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s Cornucopia Farm has a debt of US$34 284.
The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development, David Chapfika, has a debt of US$26 000, while legislator Kenneth Musanhu owes US$25 000. Zanu PF deputy political commissar Omega Hungwe has a US$19 000 debt at Great Riversdale Farm.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeremayi owes the water authority US$5 000, while Brigadier-General David Sigauke who owns Kandy Farm, Mashonaland Central provincial affairs minister Martin Dinha and Judge President George Chiweshe’s (Verona Farm) owe US$4 000 each. Education minister Lazarus Dokora has a US$2 000 unpaid water bill.
Zinwa is failing to pay its employees and has a six-month backlog in salary payments. In a memorandum addressed to staff members dated July 14 2017, the Zinwa chief executive officer Jefter Sakupwanya advised that the January 2017 salaries would be further delayed.
Zinwa was taken to court by the Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (Zewu). In the memo, Sakupwanya says failure to pay salaries on time was caused by the court order granted in favour of Zewu.
“Management would like to notify all staff members that we shall experience delays in the January 2017 salary payments,” reads the memo.
“This follows a court order granted in favour of ZEWU against Zinwa by the High Court of Zimbabwe in the sum of US$131 000. We need to comply with the order. We are currently redirecting the financial resources we have been saving for salaries in order to make good the court order.”
Sources say Zinwa has failed to remit medical aid payments, National Social Security Authority contributions as well as Nyaradzo Funeral Service fees which were deducted from salaries.
Documents seen by this newspaper show that former Mashonaland East provincial affairs minister Ray Kaukonde’s Pagejo Farm owed Zinwa close to US$50 000.
However, sources said Kaukonde has since settled his debt after giving Zinwa 11 brand new motorcycles and one 4×4 vehicle.
Efforts to get a comment from Zinwa did not succeed and questions emailed to the organisation’s public relations manager, Majorie Munyonga, last week, were not responded to.