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ZECO officials in illegal power scam

28th January 2013
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PAC Chairman, Omar Ali Shehe

Hundreds of people in Zanzibar have lost millions of shillings through illegal connections to electricity.

Some officials from the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) have been implicated by the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, which revealed the scam.

According to the PAC report people seeking to have electricity connected to their houses, paid a lot of money, but they were provided with receipts showing less than the amount paid.

Presenting the report PAC Chairman Omar Ali Shehe said that some ZECO officials in Unguja and Pemba have come up with techniques of stealing from the customers who want their houses to be connected to power.

He named Mohamed Habibu Suleiman a resident of Wambaa who had to pay 8m/- to get power, after being told by ZECO officials that 12 poles were needed for the job, but he was provided with a receipt which showed that he had paid only 167,320/-.

Amani Ibrahim Makungu, a resident of Mbweni was asked to pay 37,720,000/- to access 3-phase electricity, with officials saying the work involved putting up 14 electricity poles. He was given a receipt showing he had paid only 2,052,696m/-. The payments were done through a personal account of one of the ZECO officials.

Another resident Nassor Omar Abdalla, of Mgogoni was told that one electricity pole to get power into his house and had to pay 880,593/-, but he was issued with a receipt showing he paid only 442,593/-.

The PAC Chairman, who is also a Representative of Chake Chake, said his committee also noted that people were subjected to bureaucratic procedures when seeking to have their houses connected with power, thus causing the Corporation to lose a lot of revenue.

Meanwhile, ZECO has been losing millions of shillings after two of its officials established their own company dealing with power connections, which was the work of ZECO.

PAC Chairman said his Committee has discovered that power onnections to telecommunication towers was being done by GECCO and POMY companies, thus denying the Corporation revenue.

He said Pemba has 49 towers but ZECO only connected power to three of them, while 46 of them were connected to electricity by GECCO and POMY.

He said ZECO lost 185.8m/- it would have earned if it had connected power to the telecommunication towers.

Shehe said after the investigation PAC discovered that two ZECO officials, had 35 percent shares in GECCO Company, while still working for the power utility.

The Committee recommended that all officials involved in the scam, which caused loss to the ZECO should be held accountable including being prosecuted.

PAC was given a special assignment by the House of Representatives to investigate the allegations of embezzlement and bureaucracy after Representative Hija Hassan Hija of Kiwani tabled a private motion during the seventh meeting last year.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN