DESPITE a huge outcry over the US$5 million which the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) paid to controversial businessman and ex-convict Wicknell Chivayo’s company Intratek for the Gwanda Solar Project without a bank guarantee, it has emerged that the parastatal will soon release an additional advance payment of US$7,2 million to the company.
Hurling unprintable obscenities after being asked to comment on a R8 million (US$552 602) lawsuit filed in South Africa against Intratek for failing to pay for a container of smartphones and allegations that he bought computers worth US$40 000 for former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire at a time his US$400 million tender was being negotiated, Chivayo in the heat of the moment this week revealed he would soon get more cash from Zesa.
“You are very cruel and you will die a poor man. Imagine ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company, a subsidiary of Zesa) is paying me another US$7,2 million. I have secured an advance payment guarantee. Iwe uchingoti sika-sika nemunhu one. Kundivengera mari yangu. (You are ever on my case. You hate me because of my money),” he fumed.
The Zimbabwe Independent a fortnight ago visited Judd’s Farm in Gwanda where the US$200 million 100-megawatt project will be built and found no work done despite the US$5 million payment.
Chivayo has since dispatched excavators to clear land following the exposure.
In a move which could border on conflict of interest, corruption and possibly aimed at manipulating the tender process, Chivayo bought computers for Mavhaire at a time the energy tenders were being processed and negotiated.
Chivayo confirmed having bought 200 HP computers worth US$40 000 from Computer Warehouse in 2014, which he gave to Mavhaire. Mavhaire, who was Masvingo senator, later donated the computers to 20 schools covering five constituencies in the province.
Intratek also bought smartphones worth R6,5 million (US$448 989) from Red Emperor Commodity Brokers, the parent company of Computer Warehouse, but failed to pay. The company is now suing Intratek in the Gauteng High Court in a bid to recover the R8 million inclusive of interest.
A senior Computer Warehouse official said that Chivayo approached the company in April 2014 seeking 100 HP computers valued at US$20 000. He advised the company that he was buying the computers for Mavhaire to donate them.
Computer Warehouse refused to supply the computers unless Chivayo offered security because Intratek then owed US$8 000.
Chivayo surrendered his Mercedes Benz S350 registration number ABE 9585 as surety and parked it at the company’s Milton Park offices before signing an acknowledgement of debt for the US$20 000. Full payment was expected by June 4 2014.
The agreement and acknowledgement of debt signed by Chivayo and seen by the Independent states that: “In the event that full payment is not received by 04/06/2014 the vehicle becomes the property of Computer Warehouse and will be officially transferred to them according to the laws of Zimbabwe and be valued at the cost of the computers.”
Chivayo only paid for the computers in September 2014 after being summoned by Computer Warehouse lawyers.
It is not clear if Chivayo supplied the additional 100 computers, but in October 2014 he contacted Computer Warehouse for another batch of 100 computers.
The company, however, insisted he pays cash for the computers.
“Within a few hours after Wicknell had left, Mavhaire called and said he wanted 100 computers for which he wanted to pay US$18 000,” the source said.
Mavhaire paid the agreed amount resulting in the release of 100 computers. Chivayo confirmed purchasing the computers for Mavhaire.
“Mavhaire was the most senior party member in Zanu PF Masvingo province back then and our donations were aligned to the revolutionary party,” he said.
Upon being asked if the computers were not meant to ensure he gets energy contracts, Chivayo threw a tantrum.
“You will die a poor man. Poverty makes you bitter. You are going to continue suffering. Article or no article I will continue making money,” he said.
Mavhaire did not respond to calls and questions sent to his mobile phone.
Meanwhile, Intratek has been dragged to court for failing to pay the company for the smartphones.
“On or about February 2014, and at Johannesburg, the parties entered into an oral agreement in terms of which the plaintiff delivered three containers of stock consisting of smartphones and hair products valued at R6 572 600 to the defendant,” reads the court documents.
“The plaintiff during the period May 2014 to October 2014 requested from the defendant payment of the amount received from the sale of the goods. Despite the above knowledge the defendant failed and/or refused to pay the plaintiff.”
Marcus Vermin, who is the director of both Zimbabwe’s Computer Warehouse and Red Emperor Commodity Brokers (South Africa), said Intratek has left his two companies in serious financial stress.
“The Intratek directors are conmen and corrupt individuals who stole our stock and disappeared,” he said. “We are now paying lawyers to recover our money. We have always struggled with them since they started buying computers to support politicians in Zimbabwe.”
Chivayo, however, said: “Marcus is an idiot and he can go ahead and sue”.