CONTROVERSIAL businessman Wicknell Chivayo was reportedly arrested yesterday morning.
It could not be immediately established where he was being held or interviewed.
As such, the charges against him were not yet available as police sources were still checking for details when contacted by H-Metro.
But while there was no immediate confirmation from official sources, people in Wicknell’s inner circle told H-Metro that he had been picked up for questioning.
“Yes he has been picked but I cannot confirm who arrested him. We are all not sure and it will be bad to make assumptions,” said a close source.
As of late yesterday afternoon, the associates were still to establish his whereabouts or reasons for being picked up.
Speculation was rife that he was in trouble over the energy deals awarded to his company, Intratrek by Zimbabwe Power Company.
Intratrek received US$5 million from ZPC to start work on the Gwanda Solar Energy project but nothing has been done amid reports that the site has since been abandoned.
Chivayo was awarded three ZPC projects and there has not been progress amid reports that Members of Parliament want the power utility summoned to parly to explain their dealings with Chivayo.
The ultimate goal is to get Chivayo repay the US$5 million to ZPC and the project be re-advertised.
A campaign to have Chivayo pay back the money was started on social media last week but he did not seem to bother him as he laughed off the calls.
Chivayo becomes the latest big fish to be caught in the net following Operation Restore Legacy that saw the arrest of former finance minister Ignatius Chombo.
Last week the government said they are leaving no stone unturned on cash barons to return externalised funds.
Chivayo, who is also known as Sir Wicknell, is famous for splashing cash on social media and several foreign trips.
Speculation over his arrest started soon after the inauguration of Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa as President but Chivayo said the ZPC deal was there to stay despite the public outcry.
At that time, Chivayo said calls for his arrest had to be dismissed as mere speculation and conjecture.
“The ZPC tender which Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd has an irrevocable and irreversible signed EPC contract. The company is compliant with the contractual obligations enshrined in its EPC contract for the 100 mw Gwanda project.
“Intratrek won this tender as lowest bidder to specification under an open tender process above board. Contractually, Intratrek is answerable to the employer ZPC, who are the owners of the project.
“The two parties are aligned in the progress and execution of this project and work is currently in progress at the power station site and proceeding in good order. The calls for anyone’s arrest are therefore malicious and unfounded and should be dismissed as mere speculation and conjecture.”
Asked what progress he had made with regards to the ZESA tender, Chivayo told H-Metro everything was under control.
“Progress made can be ascertained by talking to the project owner ZPC and visiting the site. Suffice to say pre commencement works are proceeding in good order and fund raising exercise for the actual project commencement are at an advanced stage.”
He also felt it was unfair for Zimbabweans to keep referring to his criminal past after spending years in prison for fraud.
“I might have made regrettable youthful misdemeanours in retrospect but that does not make me a criminal in any wide sense. At a time when constitutional matters are at the forefront it is instructive to refer to the constitution, which promotes the integration of ex-convicts into society and treats them equally to other Zimbabweans.
“So it’s not correct to call me a criminal. My record as a non-partisan non factional patriot is what people should focus on instead of putting labels on me and casting aspersions on my character,” Chivayo told H-Metro in an exclusive interview.