ZPC denies role in Chivayo’s arrest
THE Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has denied playing any role in causing the arrest and prosecution of Harare businessman and Intratrek Zimbabwe managing director Wicknell Chivayo over allegations of fraud, corruption and money laundering relating to ZPC’s Gwanda solar project.
Chivayo is being prosecuted on corruption and fraud charges at the magistrates’ court over the manner he handled the 100-megawatt solar project spearheaded by ZPC, after he received $5 million advance payment for the project from ZPC without a bank guarantee.
In its answering affidavit in a case Intratrek is claiming breach of contract by ZPC filed at the High Court on November 14, 2018, ZPC refuted Intratrek’s claim that it frustrated the contract by causing delays to the implementation of the Gwanda solar project.
Further, the State power utility also denies playing a part in causing the arrest of Chivayo.
The contract dispute case between ZPC and Intratrek has since been set down for hearing by the High Court on the opposed roll on November 26, 2018.
While it is ZPC that was allegedly defrauded or corruptly prejudiced in the Gwanda solar project, which led to the arrest and prosecution of Chivayo, the power utility has denied any hand in causing the controversial business man’s arrest.
“It is important to note that the allegations that respondent caused the arrest of the applicant’s managing director (Chivayo) is patently false and should be disregarded by this honourable court. As highlighted in the respondent’s notice of opposition, at no material time did it file charges against the applicant’s managing director.
“Despite it being challenged to produce evidence that the charges were filed by the respondent, the applicant has not adduced such evidence,” ZPC submitted to the High Court.
When Chivayo’s prosecution started after his arrest at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in August on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening the Exchange Control Act, the complainant was ZPC represented by board member Thandiwe Mlobane.
ZPC has since threatened to cancel the $173 million engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract signed between the parties in October 2016 for construction of the Gwanda solar plant, alleging breach of contract by Chivayo’s Intratrek.
The State power utility adjudicated and awarded the Gwanda solar project tender to Chivayo’s firm in 2016, which was also approved by the then State Procurement Board, now Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
The power utility has claimed Intratrek failed to perform its obligations (condition precedent) as outlined in the contract, specifically completion of specific works within the agreed time-frames.
But Intratrek denies the claims and instead blames ZPC for causing delays to the implementation of the project through its failure to obtain an environmental impact assessment certificate and fraud charges it allegedly instituted against Chivayo in December 2017, alleging fraud and corruption in the execution of the Gwanda solar plant project.
Intratrek claims the conduct by ZPC allegedly stalled progress in the implementation of the Gwanda solar project.
Intratrek Zimbabwe had partnered $33 billion asset firm and Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed CHiNT Electric Co to undertake the multimillion dollar solar far project.
Also set for determination by the High Court is the dispute over outstanding payments for works done by Intratrek, which the company claims were due from further works under the conditions precedent, having allegedly extinguished the exposure to ZPC’s, demands which ZPC has declined to honour.
But ZPC has insisted that Intratrek cannot be entitled to make claims for payments as the power utility was supposed to make directly to sub-contractors to expedite the project, saying the value of outstanding works still stands at $1,8 million, a position it also stated in July this year.
The power utility admitted then that the value earned from works undertaken, which it indicated entailed a geo-tech survey, topography survey, fencing and ground clearance and feasibility report was in the order of $2,012 million. This left the utility’s outstanding exposure in July at $1,8 million.
But Intratrek has since submitted to the High Court that from that point, July 2018, it then had performed further works that fully extinguished ZPC’s $5 million exposure to a point it was now entitled to further payment, which was stage-based in terms of the contract.