Sanity Prevails In Chivayo Solar Deal
The see- saw like developments in the much talked about Gwanda solar project that is being undertaken by flamboyant businessman Wicknel Chivayo has finally reached a point where sanity prevails.
There have been many twist and turns in the deal as some details emerged during Chivayo’s appearance in the Parliamentary Portfolio Committe on Mines and Energy that the INTRATREK Zimbabwe shareholders had a fall out.This was revealed by lawyer Bruce Tokwe who was instructed by Chivayo’s partner Yusuf Ahmed.
The two shareholders have ‘kissed and made up’ and are now redirecting their energy towards completing the project.The shareholders reportedly had a spectacular fallout over the running of the company and handling of a multi-million dollar tender, but they have shifted focus on immediately mobilising resources to complete pre-commencement works for the 100 megawatt Gwanda solar project.
The company, which won the tender floated by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to construct the Gwanda solar farm at an engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract of $174 million (revised down to $130 million), is owned by businessmen Wicknell Chivayo and Yusuf Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed’s lawyers, Bruce Tokwe Commercial law Chambers, let the cat out of the bag before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, chaired by Norton Legislator Temba Mliswa, which sought to interrogate why the solar project had not progressed as expected and Chivayo was paid $5,1 million without a bank guarantee.
The lawyers claimed that Mr Ahmed was unclear about some of the things happening in Intratrek, including how the funds State owned power utility, ZPC, released for the Gwanda solar project had been utilized and due to these concerns, was in the process of reconstituting the firm’s board.
However, in a turn of events, the lawyers said differences with Mr Chivayo had been ironed out and that there no longer were plans to replace the board and MD Chivayo.
“They have noted the progress on the ground at the solar farm to date. They are now moving into the project full time with the relevant financial muscle to expedite completion and meet ZPC expectations and the country’s at large,” Mr Tokwe said.
ZPC had paid Mr Chivayo $5,1 million without a bank guarantee, which raised fears the State power company would be prejudiced of taxpayer’s money if Intratrek failed to deliver.
“They wish to make it categorically clear that they have the relevant funding to finish the pre-commencement works and raise the necessary guarantees as and when they are required.
“(This) essentially extinguishes ZPC’s exposure to date and (they) note with encouragement commitment by CHiNT (technical partner) to raise $52 million advance payment guarantee
“(The shareholders want ZPC to note) they are already mobilising all resources that are required to immediately move onto the ground and bolster efforts made to date,” he said.
Intratrek was founded by Chivayo in 2012 and he subsequently sold 50 percent of his shares to Mr Ahmed in 2014, for a purchase consideration of $4 million (United States Dollars), according to a cessation agreement produced by Mr Ahmed’s lawyers before the parliamentary committee.
Intratrek Zimbabwe went on to win the 100MW Gwanda solar project together with its Chinese technical partner, CHiNT Electric, a $30 billion asset company with turnover of $12 billion annually.
The Zimbabwean firm also landed the tender for the repowering of Munyati Power Station in partnership with reputed EPC contractor and Indian electrical engineers, Jaguar Overseas Limited. The project will be executed at a cost of $113 million.
Further, Intratrek also won the tender for the Gairezi hydro power station, which will generate 30MW. In this project, Intratrek partnered Indian Government owned Bharat Heavy Equipment, the world’s biggest manufacturer of hydro-electrical equipment. The hydro power plant will cost $109 million.
The awarding of these tenders courted massive controversy in the public domain, but energy and power development secretary Patison Mbiriri said for open public tenders only participating bidders had locus standi to contest such awards, but within 21 days after the respective tender has been awarded.
The Herald Business is reliably informed that the board of Intratrek, which is chaired by prominent Harare lawyer Wilson Manase, met on April 16, 2018 and unanimously agreed that the shareholders should bury the hatchet and shift their focus to the successful implementation of the Gwanda solar project.
It was also agreed during the board meeting that no resolution to remove Mr Chivayo as managing director be sought or passed.
In a letter to ZPC acting managing director, Engineer Joshua Chirikutsi, Mr Chivayo confirmed meeting the company’s projects director Engineer Robson Chikuri and pledged to ensure initial works for the solar farm were completed, after resolving his dispute with Mr Ahmed. Mr Chivayo also confirmed the meeting with CHiNT on May 7, 2018.
“We also wish to confirm the contents of a letter dated April 23, 2017 from Bruce Tokwe Commercial Law Chambers addressed to the group legal service manager (Zesa Holdings) also copied to you (Eng. Chirikutsi). We can confirm that in a board meeting on April 16, 2018, both shareholders resolved their differences, taking into account the importance of the project, hence please be rest assured all pre-commencement works will be completed on time as committed.”
In what demonstrated the fact that the shareholders had since resolved their dispute and in a letter to ZPC acting managing director Engineer Joshua Chirikutsi, Chivayo confirmed a meeting soon to be held with CHiNT pledging to invite Mr Ahmed to be part of the discussions with the Chinese firm.
He described his business partner, who has shares in Datvest, NMB Bank and Metropolitan Bank, as a successful businessman of unquestionable integrity and international repute”
Mr Chivayo requested ZPC, to engage CBZ Bank as directed by Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa to float energy bonds for alternative raising of project funding from local insurance and pension funds, as they await to see if Sinosure agrees to extend lines of credit to Zimbabwe.