The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is reportedly reviewing Intratrek’s contract to build the Gwanda solar power plant following the latter’s failure to meet its contractual obligations, it has been learnt.
Zesa Holdings group chief executive officer Engineer Josh Chifamba told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Norton legislator Mr Temba Mliswa (Independent) recently that ZPC was scheduled to meet to discuss the company’s fate.
He cautioned that the process of reviewing the deal was legal and, therefore, the State enterprise would give the matter due attention.
Intratrek, which is fronted by businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo, was controversially roped in by Government to develop the 100 megawatt (MW) plant in 2015 after initially losing the tender.
The project has failed to take off despite $5 million being paid to the equally controversial businessman for pre-commencement works.
“A lot has been done to review the tender which was awarded to Intratrek, but it is a legal process,” Eng Chifamba told the committee. “The decision that you put forward as the committee is the same that was made by the ZPC board, but it is a legal process, it does not happen immediately.
“What is clear about today’s date, which is the (April) 23rd, is the date to terminate the contract. This is the date that we now review and say for what we paid, what has been done? The process has to follow due process. If we act hastily, we can face legal consequences. We are all on the same page, I want to reassure you.”
The committee was seemingly peeved by revelations by permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development Mr Patson Mbiriri – who also appeared before the committee – that Mr Chivayo had gone back on site and cleared 75 hectares of the 200 hectares designated for the solar plant.
In particular, Mr Mliswa queried why Mr Chivayo was given the green light to clear land that belonged to the State after he failed to pay the $15 000 needed to secure it.
Eng Chifamba noted that Mr Chivayo’s latest actions will not “whitewash his previous sins”.
“The contractor was not expelled from site,” he said. “He just did not turn up to the site to do his work. We thanked the noise that was done as it forced him to go and complete the work which we had already had paid for.
“That completion of the work will not influence the legal process we are taking. It does not preclude ZPC to cancel the contract if it so desires. This is work which we had paid for which he is doing. This does not whitewash his previous sins.”
Mr Mliswa said the law was clear insofar as the limitations it puts on ex-convicts to participate in public tenders.
“You are dealing with a convicted criminal that you now know,” he said. “Is this a country of criminals to be open for business? This is exactly what you are doing: that any criminal can come in and run a company.
“Government has just cancelled the Geiger road contract because of non-performance.”
In March, the parliamentary committee visited Gwanda and expressed disappointment with the poor preparatory works at the site.