Vice President Constantino Chiwenga allegedly usurped a $1,5 billion dam construction project in Manicaland province and illegally imposed a Chinese company at the expense of a local company that had a subsisting Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the government, the Zim Morning Post can exclusively reveal.
Information at hand points out to the effect that Chiwenga handpicked a Chinese company Sino-Hydro Corporation and elbowed out a local company Tawana Engineering despite a subsisting MoA signed between government and Tawana Engineering.
The latter and the Ministry of Lands, Water, Climate and Rural resettlement have a valid Memorandum of Agreement for the “Kondo and Chitowe Dams Multipurpose Joint Venture Project” signed on May 22 2018 and running for an initial period of two years
Tawana Engineering instructed John Mugugu attorneys to file an application seeking compensation for the expenses incurred in the feasibility survey it undertook as agreed with the government
In its founding affidavit filed at the High Court a fortnight ago, Tawana Engineering cited minister Perrence Shiri, vice president Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Water Authority(ZINWA) and Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) as respondents in that order.
They allege that Chiwenga instructed Shiri’s office to engage Sino-Hydro Corporation under the pretext that the MoA between Tawana and government had expired.
“Copies of the letter from the office of the 2nd “Respondent (Chiwenga), together with the letter from Sinohydro Corporation Limited, are attached hereto marked as “Annexure P”.
“Hand-written notes on “Annexure P” show that someone asked a Mr Mutepfa for an update on the matter on 19 February 2019.
“It is my respectful submission that the letter from the 2nd Respondent’s office was the reason why our project was put to tender.
“There is no other way to read the letter than that it was an instruction to the 1st Respondent (Shiri) to do exactly that, and it explains why the 3rd Respondent (ZINWA) would go ahead and put to tender a project that is already subject to an extant MoA,” read part of the founding affidavit.
“I submit that there is no possible rational explanation for why the 1st Respondent would put the Kondo and Chitowe Dams Multipurpose Project to tender, complete with the lie that the MoA has expired.
“The only possible interpretation of the 1st Respondent (Chiwenga)’s conduct, which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or acceptable standards,” submitted Mushambi.
Documents seen by this publication show that Tawana had entered a mutual agreements with several institutions to make this project a success.
South African bank ABSA, French engineering company Vinci Grand Projects, Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) and National Social Security Authority (NSSA) have made commitments to be part of the project which will see the construction of the largest man made inland dam in the country.
Tawana Power Corporation sourced the funding and engaged reputable technical partners in the project which involves the construction of concrete-faced rock fill dams, earth fill saddle dams and hydro-power generating plants.
In a letter addressed to Tawana Power Corporation executive chairman George Mushambi and authored by ABSA director of power, utilities and Infrastructure Bhavtik Vailabhjee, ABSA expressed its interest to act as debt arranger in the company’s development of the 275 MW Kondo and Chitowe dams.
“Absa has considerable experience in the African Power and Infrastructure sector and specifically in the limited recourse project finance market, with a dedicated team of professionals based in Johannseburg, Nairobi and Lagos and access to broader experience base and products on offer from Baclays P/C,” read part of the letter seen by this publication.
IBDZ also wrote to Tawana Power agreeing to provide financial advisory services in structuring US$100 million funding for the project.
The letter was written by IDBZ director of Infrastructure Projects Desmond Matete.
NSSA also indicated its commitment to support as stated in a letter dated January 26 2018, written by the investment manager David Makwara.
“We await your finalization of the indicative cost of the feasibility study which you have invited NSSA to finance and therefore participate in the project.
“The participation of NSSA will be subject to regulatory approvals, but we are interested in this project that will go a long way in infrastructure development in our country” wrote Makwara.
Chiwenga and the other respondents are yet to file a notice of opposition.
— Zim Morning Post