Energy Minister Orders ZESA To Drop Wicknell Chivayo Fraud Charges And Work With Him Instead
In a shocking turn of events, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Fortune Chasi has reportedly ordered power utility ZESA to drop all charges against businessman Wicknell Chivayo and to work with him instead. The controversial businessman is facing charges of defrauding the power company of US$5.6 million.
The businessman is alleged to have received the money from ZESA as an advance to be used in the construction of the US$200 million Gwanda Solar Power Project. However, despite receiving the advance, Chivayo is yet to show any meaningful progress on the contract that he was awarded in 2015. The state alleges that he withdrew the money and diverted it for his own use. The Supreme Court has since ruled that Chivayo has a case to answer and overturned a decision by the High Court to acquit the businessman on all charges.
ZiMetroNews has learned from online publication, Zimlive that before the Supreme Court had delivered its ruling on the Chivayo case, Chasi wrote to ZESA instructing them to drop all charges against Chivayo and to work with him on the Gwanda Solar Power Project.
In what appears to be smart and cunning move, Chivayo also appointed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s longtime lawyer Edwin Manikai as his chief legal adviser. Manikai is the current chair of President Mnangagwa’s Presidential Advisory Council (PAC). Chivayo also appointed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s adviser and prominent lawyer Wilson Manase as executive chairman of Intratek.
These appointments were also referenced in the letter from Chasi to ZESA,
“The government took note of the involvement of high-ranking professionals who now constitute the restructured Intratek board,” he wrote. “Of note, the Presidential Advisory Council chairman Edwin Manikai is leading the legal conscription of the proposed financial and technical variation of the project through Dube, Manikai and Hwacha Legal Practitioners…
The key role of that law firm and Mr Manikai in particular in the new arrangement speaks volumes on the integrity, professionalism and experience placed into the project, with the government concurring that all previous loopholes would subsequently be forestalled and plugged.”
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