Blessings Mashaya 18 January 2018
HARARE – The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy is
putting pressure on government to implement the moribund Gwanda solar
energy project with haste, throwing the spotlight on flamboyant
businessmen Wicknell Chivayo once more.
Chivayo was awarded a $200 million tender to roll out the project which
will feed into the national grid to ease the country’s electricity woes.
After consummating the power deal in October 2015, no meaningful progress
has been achieved to bring the project to fruition.
In fact, the project which is expected to generate 100 megawatts of
electricity, has been mired in controversy, amid accusations of underhand
dealings between bureaucrats in former president Robert Mugabe’s
government and the burly businessman.
Chivayo has consistently denied any wrong doing.
In a report presented in Parliament on Monday, the portfolio committee
said the work that has been done on the energy project does not tally with
the amount paid to the contractor.
“The committee is concerned to know that the work that has been done and
the amount paid to the contractor does not tally,” reads part of the
“To win back the people’s confidence, it is recommended that the
implementation of the project moves with speed so that tangible results
are seen instead of continued reports that the project is still at the
preparation stage of the project cycle.”
The committee further recommended that the Procurement Regulatory
Authority Board should move with speed in coming up with a framework that
will ensure that in future controversies that surround the Gwanda solar
project do not occur again, such as the payment made in the absence of a
Chivayo has been staring down the barrel over the power deals which he
signed with Zesa Holdings and its subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company
These deals have come under scrutiny after Intratrek apparently failed to
deliver on them.
ZPC senior management were recently arrested for advancing $5 million to
Chivayo for this project’s pre-commencement works, despite the fact that
the businessman had not providing a performance guarantee as required by
The performance guarantee acts as financial security and is supposed to be
presented by the contractor before the commencement of works.
It insulates the client in the event that the contractor fails to fulfil
obligations set out in the contract.
Apart from the Gwanda project, Chivayo was also awarded a further $73
million for the refurbishment of the Harare Power Station, $163 million
for the restoration of the Munyati Power Station, and $248 million for the
Gairezi Power project.
An elite investigating unit, the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
(NECI) is current digging into Chivayo’s deals.
NECI recently ordered him to submit his bank statements, contract
documents and cash books as part of widening investigations into the Zesa
Chivayo’s project has attracted a lot of attention, including from Member
“The situation was worsened by the media houses which provided conflicting
statements regarding the project starters,” noted the portfolio committee
on mines and energy.
“Some of the reports have cited irregularities in the manner in which the
tender was awarded and the payment of the initial $5 million paid to the
contractor that is Intratrek.”