Wicknell dodges bullet over his criminal past


ENERGY and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge has thrown his weight behind all the power projects Zimbabwe Power Company signed with various contractors.

Minister Undenge’s reaffirmation of his support for the projects dissipates speculation that power utility, Zesa Holdings, is investigating ZPC tenders in particular those won by Intratrek Zimbabwe, a company run by businessman Wicknell Chivayo, for any irregularities with a view to cancelling any that might have violated standing rules.

This comes as Zesa Holdings, ZPC’s parent company, has received legal advice that it would need to justify, before a court of law, reasons for cancellation if it decides to nullify the contracts, as reasons cited for this (an appealed conviction of a director), cannot be accepted before the courts.

“The winners of the projects were selected through a competitive tender process that involved a total of six bidders who responded to the request for proposals, which required compliance with funding, technical and price specifications of each of the project tenders,” the Energy Minister said when contacted over the issue.

Intratrek won multi-million dollar tenders for the construction of a solar plant in Gwanda and Gairezi hydro power plant.

But it has emerged that besides the need to purchase tender documents, local firms are not compelled to demonstrate track record in execution of energy projects, but must partner credible, reliable competent technical partners.

For the Gwanda project Intratrek partnered Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed CHiNT Electric, a multi-billion dollar asset firm, which has extensive experience in building solar plants.

A recent due diligence of the company’s solar power project impressed ZPC’s technical team and confirmed a recent feasibility study by Shanghai Electric Power Design Institute.

Intratrek has also formed a consortium with India’s state-owned Bharat Heavy Equipment Limited, a $4 billion balance sheet company which recently commissioned a 30MW plant in Rwanda, for the long awaited Gairezi hydro power project.

In this regard, Mr Chivayo’s Intratrek complied with all tender and contractual specifications of the State Procurement Board, which awarded the tender, beating stiff challenge from several local and reputable suitors during a protracted tender process.

Minister Undenge said on technical specifications, bidders were required to provide a list of reference plants and contractor’s involvement through engineering, procurement and construction and an authorisation letter from manufacturers of the equipment for the energy projects.

In terms of funding, bidders were required to prove their funding ability and proposed equity contribution from the State as well as their credibility in terms of financial credit, tenure of the loan facility, charges/fees and security.

Further, in terms of Mr Chivayo’s power projects, the reasons cited for probe by the national power utility with a view to cancel the projects would not stand as the flamboyant businessman appealed against both the sentence and conviction.

The Herald Business understands that the appeal against both conviction and sentence was never heard by the High Court as the file containing the record of proceedings could not be located.

“In this regard, section 31(4) of the Civil Evidence Act provides as follows: Evidence of criminal conviction shall not be adduced for the purpose this section if the conviction is subject to an appeal in terms of any law,” reads excerpts from legal advice that has been given to Zesa Holdings.

Intratrek has responded to the call by President Mugabe for Zimbabwean firms to take part in development projects by seizing opportunities presented by Zim-Asset 2014 /18, the country’s foremost medium term economic development blueprint.


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