Wicknell spills the beans on ‘shady’ deals
Controversial and high-living businessman, Wicknell Chivayo, told Parliament how former president Robert Mugabe’s office and two ministers had used their influence to have him awarded multi-million-dollar power deals which are now under investigation by government.
The burly businessman, who is often referred to by his associates as Sir Wicknell, was awarded a $200 million tender for the Gwanda Solar Project.
He was also awarded a further $73 million for the refurbishment of the Harare Power Station, $163 million for the restoration of the Munyati Power Station, and $248 million for the Gairezi Power project by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) — a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings.
ZPC senior management stands accused of advancing $5 million to Chivayo for the Gwanda Solar project’s pre-commencement works, despite him not providing a performance guarantee as required by law.
The performance guarantee acts as financial security and is supposed to be presented by the contractor before commencement of works. It insulates the client if the contractor fails to fulfill obligations set out in the contract.
Chivayo taking oath before Parliament’s Mines and Energy portfolio committee. Pic: Annie Mpalume
Yesterday Chivayo was given a torrid time by MPs when he appeared before the portfolio committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, to explain how he won the power tenders and explain progress on the projects.
Chivayo told the committee that former Energy ministers – Dzikamai Mavhaire and Samuel Undenge – who both served at different times in Mugabe’s government, had used their influence to have his company Intratek awarded the tenders and receive the subsequent $ 5 million.
The jet-setting convicted fraudster revealed that while Mavhaire facilitated his awarding of the tender despite losing the bid, Undenge arm-twisted the ZPC to pay him $2, 1 million in feasibility study fees notwithstanding his failure to provide surety.
“After I failed to win the tender in 2013 I then went to see minister Mavhaire to protest that I was the brain child of the whole project so how come I end up not getting it?
“I also wrote to the chief secretary to the president (Misheck Sibanda) as well as the chairperson of the State Procurement Board (SPB) the late Charles Kuwaza to register my complaint and they all understood me and that my argument made sense. The minister then took the matter to cabinet and it was approved,” he told MPs.