DODGY businessman Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratrek is unlikely to get the outstanding US$167 million for its controversial solar project after receiving US$5 million as part payment as pressure mounts from parliament and the power utility Zesa for President Emmerson Mnangaga to cancel his corrupt deals, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
By Bernard Mpofu
This week Zesa chief executive Josh Chifamba told a parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy that the power utility has begun terminating the multi-million dollar contract after Intratrek failed to execute the project within agreed timelines despite being given the resources to do so. It is now three years since the company was awarded the contract.
This followed committee chairperson Themba Mliswa’s queries to Chifamba why the power utility had not terminated the contract when no progress had been made on the solar project behind .
The Gwanda contract was among several power projects awarded to the firm between 2015 and 2016, including the US$73 million refurbishment of Harare power station; a US$163 million project to upgrade Munyati thermal power station and a US$128 million hydropower station in Gairezi.
Information gathered by the Independent – which has been dogged exposing the corrupt Zesa deals for several years now – shows that between April 2015 and July 2016, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a unit of Zesa paid Intratrek a total of US$5 644 130,80 for design and feasibility study as well as for procurement activities for the project which has literally failed to take off years on. The contract balance stood at US$167 224 466,80.
Earlier on this year the committee visited the project site – the Independent that much earlier – and discovered that no meaningful work had been carried out.
The amount was paid in tranches spread during the same period via ZPC bankers, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe.
In July 2016, ZPC wrote to CBZ instructing them to transfer US$40 947,95 in favour of Zimra being payment for withholding tax on Intratrek.
Also contrary to reports that Chivayo was paying rentals for the land which was set aside for the solar projects, documents seen by this paper show that it is ZPC who bought the land which has since been idle.
“Could you please transfer USD$15 640 in favour of Ministry of Lands Holding Fund being payment for annual rentals for Lot 2 of Judds farm, Gwanda,” reads a letter dated September 27, 2017.
Also to demonstrate that Intratrek had no experience in implementing such projects, ZPC, in October 2017, paid firm called Parsons Brinkerhoff Africa ZAR433 200 for engineering consultancy for the 100MW Gwanda solar project. During the same month ZPC also paid Salwire Manufacturers US$65 921,74 for the supply and installation of high security perimeter fence at the Gwanda project.
The power was also made payments to another company contracted to carry out geotechnical surveys for the project last December despite public outcry over the solar project.
Just last month, the Office of the President and Cabinet left Chivayo stranded after they denied that they had bypassed procurement regulations in the awarding of the 100 MW solar project tender to the firm.
Also last month then Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe acting chief executive Nyasha Chizu said the engagement of Chivayo by former executive chairperson the late Charles Kuwaza, especially after the company had lost the bid to a Chinese firm, was illegal.
“That negotiation in terms of the law was an illegal process because Section 31(1) of the Act does not allow negotiations of a submitted bids and the late former executive chairman admitted that there was that need and he justified by saying it was because power was a critical requirement in the country. So the negotiation that was allowed, in my opinion, has frustrated the award that was made to China Jiangxi,” Chizu told the Mines and Energy parliamentary committee.