The trial of jet setting Harare businessman Wicknell Chivayo yesterday failed to kick-off because the presiding magistrate was unavailable.
Chivayo and his company Intratek Zimbabwe (Private) Limited are charged with fraud, money laundering and contravening two sections of the Exchange Control Act.
“Granted by the court’s permission may the matter be postponed to tomorrow (today) as the magistrate handling the case is said to be at an inspection in loco,” prosecutor Vernanda Munyoro said.
In 2012, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) resolved to increase its national grid electricity production.
A feasibility study was carried out and a tender was floated in August 2013 for the installation of a 100 Megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda.
The tender was awarded to a Chinese company China Jianxi at a cost of $183 million.
Chivayo participated in the tender with a bid of $248 million which was ranked third lowest but former Energy minister Samuel Undenge allegedly interfered with the process and directed ZPC to award the tender to Chivayo and his company.
He reportedly won the tender at $172 848 597.
The court was told that on October 23, 2015, ZPC acted on the misrepresentation and signed a contract with Chivayo for implementation of the project.
It was alleged that ZPC released $5 607 814, 24 into Intratek’s bank account for the project to take off but allegedly converted or transferred the money into various individual and company accounts.
He was also authorised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to load $849 479 into his visa cards for the importation of earth-moving equipment from the US for construction works at Gwanda Solar Project
However, it was alleged Chivayo did not import anything.
As a result, ZPC suffered prejudice of $5 607 814, 24 and nothing was recovered.