Wicknell in a tight spot as walls come tumbling down
The criminal prosecution of Intratrek managing director, Mr Wicknel Chivayo, is imminent as the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and police are finalising building evidence against the ex-convict.
It is believed that the flamboyant businessman will face charges related to circumstances surrounding the award of the tender to build 100MW solar power plant in Gwanda, including the failure of the project to take off despite a $5 million advance payment to Intratrek by ZPC.
ZPC company secretary Mrs Nora Tsomondo yesterday told the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Norton MP Mr Temba Mliswa (Independent) that the country’s law enforcement agencies were virtually through with gathering evidence aimed at bringing Mr Chivayo to justice.
This comes as the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (formerly State Procurement Board) told the same committee that the awarding of the tender to Mr Chivayo was unlawful.
In her brief to the committee, Mrs Tsomondo said they were pursuing several options to bring finality on the solar project tender awarded to Intratrek. “We have made our submissions to the Dispute Adjudication Committee. The matter is also being dealt with by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and we have been in constantly consulting them. They are almost through, and the police are also playing their part,” said Mrs Tsomondo.
“We cannot say much because we are dealing with a very cunning person and we have to be very careful with every step we take.”
She said ZPC had failed to expeditiously deal with the matter because its managing director, Engineer Noah Gwariro, was involved in a serious accident at a time when the board had become seized with the matter.
Interestingly, ZPC board chairperson Engineer Stanley Kazhanje admitted to the same committee that he had dealings with Intratrek, which culminated in him being paid $10 000 by Chivayo for providing “technical services”.
This was after MPs grilled Eng Kazhanje on whether he was not conflicted in selecting Intratrek, and whether he had declared his interest to the board.
However, Eng Kazhanje said he had declared his interest to two board members — Mrs Thandiwe Mlobane and Mrs Vongai Muchengeti. But the duo said they only became aware of Eng Kazhanje and Mr Chivayo’s links in the media.
Mrs Tsomondo said she had not seen any records showing that the board chair had disclosed his relationship with Intratrek.
Mrs Mlobani said Intratrek had come through former Minister of Energy and Power Development Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire and his deputy Eng Munacho Mutezo.
Also, the recent Energy Minister, Dr Samuel Undenge, continued to meddle in ZPC affairs, she said. Further, when quizzed why ZPC engaged Chivayo given his criminal record, Eng Kazhanje said he only came to know of his past through Press reports.
During proceedings, Zesa Holdings group chief executive officer Eng Josh Chifamba lashed out at Eng Gwariro for failing to disclose that he had been arm-twisted to pay Chivayo.
This, he said, showed that he could have been complicit. Earlier on, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) acting chief executive officer Mr Nyasha Chizu said the engagement of Chivayo by former executive chairperson, Mr Charles Kuwaza, especially after the company had lost the bid to a Chinese firm, was unlawful.
“That negotiation in terms of the law was an illegal process because Section 31(1) of the Act does not allow negotiations of a submitted bids and the late former executive chairman admitted that there was that need and he justified by saying it was because power was a critical requirement in the country.
So the negotiation that was allowed, in my opinion, has frustrated the award that was made to China Jiangxi,” said Mr Chizu, who was accompanied by PRAZ board chairperson Mrs Vimbai Nyemba.