Former Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, has castigated ZESA Holdings after the High Court ruled in favour of Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and its managing director Wicknell Chivayo in his dispute with the power utility.
High Court judge Justice Siyabona Musithu reinstated Chivayo’s controversial Gwanda solar project after his company Intratrek had sued the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings US$22 million for defamation, and breach and repudiation of the contract.
Intratrek had also demanded US$3 million in compensation for expenses it had incurred between 2013 and 2018 funding the project.
High Court judge Justice Siyabona Paul Musithu upheld Chivayo’s application.
The ruling was handed down Wednesday, 11 January, by Justice Priscilla Munangati-Munongwa.
Commenting on the ruling, Chasi accused ZESA Holdings managers of bungling the case, leaving the court “with no choice” but to rule in Chivayo’s favour. Chasi tweeted:
Honayi zvazva ita manje (Look what has happened now). In addition to the 5m$ add the 22m$ from the judgment. Akatenga ma tenisi ake tochema (If he buys pairs of shoes we complain). Why not? People should avoid KIDNEYS & at least try BRAINS when there is a need to think.
One Twitter asked Chasi to clarify his comments about “Wicknell buying plenty more shoes”, saying:
I don’t understand Honorable. Are you saying Wicknell must [buy] plenty more shoes?
Where will ZESA get the 22mln when they can’t afford to import our electricity?
This is scandalous Honorable. Zimbabwe is developing in REVERSE.
In response, Chasi said the issue is about ZESA, adding the courts don’t act on emotions but solid facts. He said:
No. You are missing the point. With respect, the issue is with ZESA. If a case is on all fours the court has no choice. It doesn’t act on emotions or rumors but on what’s proven in court.
Chasi was reportedly fired for his efforts to level the playing field in the fuel sector, something which did not go down well with powerful fuel cartels that have captured the State.
A Ministry of Energy official who spoke to The Zimbabwe Independent said Chasi was fired partly because he wanted to break Sakunda’s monopolistic hold of the NOIC fuel pipeline. The official was quoted as saying:
You must understand that at NOIC, Chasi was trying to even out the playing field in the fuel sector by ensuring that Sakunda Holdings will not continue to enjoy the monopolistic utilisation of the pipeline while also trying to fully assert Noic’s control over the pipeline. Sadly, this unsettled the interests of powerful fuel cartels.
His plans to revive efforts to build a second fuel pipeline were also met with fierce resistance by the same powerful forces.
He was trying to do many things right at the same time. He could not have prevailed over the combined efforts by the ethanol blending and fuel cartels.