CONVICTED fraudster and dealer Wicknell Chivayo is not the owner of Intratrek Zimbabwe — a controversial company he has successfully fronted to win several multi-million dollar tenders in electricity generation projects over the past two years under murky circumstances.
Chivayo is often portrayed as a savvy young businessman and owner of Intratrek, but is in reality merely the Zimbabwean face of the shady company whose owner is the equally controversial South African-based Zambian national Ibrahim Yusuf.
Intratrek Zimbabwe, according to the company’s website, was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in South Africa.
Yusuf’s son Tariq is the company’s executive director tasked with “implementing the group strategy of expansion through acquisitions and organic growth”.
Just like Chivayo, listed on the company’s website as a non-executive director, Yusuf, who is Intratrek’s founder and executive chairman, has a shady background littered with allegations of involvement in grisly crimes of drug trafficking, among other.
“He (Yusuf) is the driving force behind the business and maintains an executive position, ensuring that the company continues to expand into new territories. He oversees the strategic development of the company and manages the growth strategy of the business, ensuring that Intratrek grows into a powerful force in the African continent,” reads the short biographical information on the website.
On the other hand, Chivayo is glowingly described as “an accomplished businessman with over 10 years of experience in areas as diverse as transport and logistics, farming, petroleum and energy industries”.
“A results driven, self-motivated and resourceful managing director with a proven ability to develop and strengthen management teams in order to maximise company profitability and efficiency. Experienced leading and growing all sectors of a business to make it a dynamic and progressive organisation. Possessing excellent communication skills and able to establish sustainable and profitable relationships with customers, suppliers and stakeholders across the world,” the company website says.
However, the reality about the Intratrek trio is far from glossy as Yusuf and Chivayo both have criminal backgrounds in addition to shared modus operandi based on cultivating relations with senior government officials in order to win tenders without proven capacity of executing.
A visit to the photo gallery of Itratrek’s website which is under the headline “our story told in pictures” tells a revealing tale of a company which relies heavily on close connections to politicians and other persons of influence. At the top of the photo gallery is Chivayo with President Robert Mugabe. Chivayo also features on other photographs with First Lady Grace Mugabe, Zanu PF political commissar and Local Government minister Savior Kasukuwere. He was also pictured with Grace and tycoon Mutumwa Mawere at the First Lady’s orphanage in Mazowe. He has previously posted pictures of him and Grace having dinner in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on social media.
Yusuf was linked to a Zambian Mandrax smuggling network in the mid-1980s and he was named in a 1985 Zambian court judgment. In 2010, Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission told our sister newspaper Mail & Guardian newspaper Yusuf “is a well-known drug trafficker”.
In a 1987 affidavit former South African drug trafficker Vuyo Ndzeku identified Yusuf as a packager and seller of Mandrax drugs. Yusuf also allegedly imported stolen goods into Zambia in 1993 and 1994; and obtained US$29 000 under false pretences from the Zambian Parliament in 2002.
Yusuf and his son have also employed the trusted strategy of cultivating relations with South Africa’s political elite, including President Jacob Zuma and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Yusuf even gave Zwelithini a R1 million luxury sports vehicle during a reed dance in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The gift was given in the aftermath of Zwelithini having directed the health department to roll out the controversial male circumcision device known as the Tara KLamp that had been procured from Yusuf’s company.
Tarik also maintains a heavy social media presence where he poses with beautiful women. Similarly Chivayo often takes to social media to splash pictures taken with a slew of political and military figures in Zimbabwe, including Mugabe and his family members.
Intratrek has been awarded multimillion dollar energy deals despite that the company has no capacity, resources and a proven track record in the sector.