BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
HIGH Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda has upheld Harare magistrate Hosea Mujaya’s decision to dismiss an application for discharge filed by former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board chairperson Stanley Kazhanje, who is accused of concealing his business interests in Wicknell Chivayo’s controversial company, Intratrek Zimbabwe.
Kazhanje had challenged magistrate Mujaya’s ruling, saying he erred when he placed him on his defence after former Energy permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri told court that the accused had disclosed his interests before being appointed to the board. But Justice Kwenda ruled that despite Mbiriri’s testimony, Kazhanje must be put to his defence to answer for himself.
Justice Kwenda said Kazhanje must explain how the payment by Intratrek Zimbabwe ended up in his personal bank account.
“It is up to him to explain how he ended up giving technical consultancy to a prospective bidder for his employer’s project. It is up to him to explain the absence of a resolution by the other board members that he could proceed to chair deliberations on the performance of a contract he had contributed to facilitate on behalf of Intratrek,” Justice Kwenda ruled.
“I, therefore, understand the trial magistrate when he says the issue at stake is to whom was the applicant supposed to disclose. I conclude that first respondent’s (Mujaya) decision is not irrational and having applied my mind to the facts, I arrived at the same conclusion that the applicant has a case to answer.”
Allegations are that on October 23, 2015, during his tenure at ZPC, Kazhanje signed an engineering procurement and construction contract for a 100 megawatt solar panel station project with Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd represented by Chivayo.
It is alleged Kazhanje, during the engagement of Intratrek, failed to declare his interests and it is the State’s case that during the period extending from December 11 to January 20, 2016, ZPC made an advance payment of $1 236 154 to Intratrek for the implementation of the project.
However, Intratrek did not fulfil its obligation and this resulted in the ZPC management suggesting termination of the contract.
The State alleges on January 21, 2016, under unclear circumstances, Kazhanje received $10 000 into his personal Barclays Bank account from Intratrek’s CBZ Bank account.
Kazhanje, in his capacity as ZPC chair, presided over a meeting in which it was resolved that the power utility must pay services direct to Intratrek sub-contractors, instead of terminating the contract.
It is the State’s case that the fact that Kazhanje received $10 000 and subsequently resolved not to terminate Intratrek’s contract gave rise to reasonable suspicion that he was influenced by the payment to decide in favour of Chivayo’s firm.