Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines And Energy to respond to questions over the Gwanda Solar Power Project. Wicknell’s company Intratek Zimbabwe was awarded the US$200 million Gwanda solar project under unclear circumstances. It was then advanced $5 million in controversial circumstances following a directive from then-Minister of Energy Samuel Undenge. However, no progress has been made on the project. Here are some of the things we noted from the interview.
1. Losing The Tender Bid
Wicknell Chivayo initially lost the bid for the solar power project tender. However, instead of approaching the courts he approached “the important people” which included the Minister of Energy and Former First Lady Grace Mugabe to complain that it was his brainchild. He was later awarded the tender. Chivayo struggled to explain why he had gone to individuals to complain instead of the courts.
2. Relationship To Powerful Politicians
Chivayo denied that he was related to any of the “important people” saying that he just took selfies with them. Said Chivayo
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I am not related to Minister S.K Moyo, I am not related to any former minister of Energy or even the former first family, you can have pictures with someone but that doesn’t mean you are related to them.
3. Relationship To ZPC Chairperson Who Awarded Tender
Chivayo also revealed that he was the business partner of the chairman of the ZPC, who awarded him the tender. Stanley Kazhanje the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is alleged to have prepared the tender documents for Wicknell Chivayo’s company without declaring a conflict of interest to the board.
4. Failure To Get A Bank Guarantee
Chivayo inadvertently admitted that he received the $5 million advance from Zesa even though he did not have a bank guarantee as required by law. When asked by Mliswa “ZPC says they have taken over the work because you have failed”…Chivayo answered “I have failed to get the required bank guarantees”
5. Shareholding In Intratek
The lawyer for Intratek, Bruce Tokwe, threw Chivayo under the bus after telling the parliamentary committee that Chivayo has not respected corporate governance and that shareholders are concerned with his conduct. He also said that Chivayo was not a shareholder and was just a director who was tarnishing the reputation of Intratek. Chivayo however, disputed this saying he got his shareholding back in 2015
6. Political Influence
Bruce Tokwe, the lawyer for Intratek hinted undue political influence under former president Robert Mugabe saying,
The shareholders have now seen the hope brought by the new dispensation and are willing to see the project continued…it is indeed true that the dynamics have changed.