ZESA Holdings executive chairperson Sydney Gata has admitted to Parliament that the US$250m Dema Power Plant deal was illegally awarded to Sakunda Holdings in violation of public procurement law.

He said the unlawful directive to award the deal came from the Office of the President, through a ministerial order, which couldn’t be gone against.

“I am yet to see any project officers who have rejected the ministerial directives. Some members have been punished for executing such ill-considered ministerial statements,” he said.

Gata says the issue of Sakunda was a matter of national security so ZESA did not have any say, and was more of technical adviser.

According to Gata, ministerial directives” are problematic when they are in violation of corporate governance best practice.

He added that as ZESA they were arm twisted to accept what they do not need.

“We were given a directive to sign all 200 megawatts, but we didn’t need that amount of electricity.

“The Dema diesel power plant is a 200 megawatt plant we only need 100 as Zesa it was up to Sakunda to find what it could do with the other 100 megawatts,” he said.

Gata told parliament that the country will one day need to revisit the ministerial directives as sometimes they are problematic.

He said this when he appeared before Public Accounts Committee to give Oral evidence on the ZESA Forensic Audit Report. Last week, when the ZESA delegation came insufficiently prepared and were told to come back this week fully prepared.