Senior Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) managers have been accused of evading laid-down procedures when payments were done to Intratrek Investment fronted by flamboyant businessman Wicknell Chivayo for the Gwanda solar project, as fresh details on the controversial matter emerge.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
A report prepared on June 4, 2019 by ZPC legal secretary Nora Tsomondo for the new Energy minister Fortune Chasi reveals that the company’s technical director, Robson Chikuri, allegedly avoided engaging the board in the implementation of the project and all payments were made in small batches to duck the board’s approval.
Chasi was appointed as Energy minister last month and has demanded that Zesa recovers the US$5,6 million advanced to Chivayo for the Gwanda solar project.
The report states that senior managers structured the release of the funds in a manner that was aimed at skirting the involvement of the board and without a surety as required by law.
“The un-securitised advance payments were authorised through payment release certificates that were signed by the following officers: Managing director, projects and technical director and the finance director. Ironically, there was no progress at the project site against which the payment release certificates were made, i.e, the certificates were fictitious,” part of the project update submitted to Chasi read.
“The board was also not aware that Intratrek had been paid without an advance payment guarantee. The payments were made in small weekly amounts which were within the managing director’s threshold and thus did not need board approval.”
Chikuri was appointed projects and technical director and was acting more as the accounting officer on the deal. He is the current ZPC acting managing director.
In December last year, High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi absolved Intratrek of any wrongdoing or causing delays in the implementation of the project and declared the contract valid, extant and enforceable.
In March this year, Justice Owen Tagu acquitted Chivayo in the US$5,6 million fraud case after ZPC laid the charges. Justice Tagu stated that the allegations were defective because the facts could not sustain a criminal suit.
But in the report to the minister, Intratrek on April 26, 2016 got a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe nod to load US$849 475 on their Visa card for the purpose of procuring earth-moving equipment from a US-based supplier.
“A Google search on the supplier revealed that the address on the invoice for the earthmoving equipment was an unoccupied block of residential flats. The advance payments were made to the contractor without knowledge of the company secretary’s office, which administers all contracts,” part of the report read.