Security chiefs confront Chivayo

Chivayo, whose close ties with President Emmerson Mnangagwa have sparked national outrage from citizens concerned about his criminal record

CONVICTED tycoon Wicknell Chivayo was last week confronted by security chiefs after making a slew of corruption allegations over a US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) tender, the Zimbabwe Independent heard.

Chivayo, whose close ties with President Emmerson Mnangagwa have sparked national outrage from citizens concerned about his criminal record, appeared to intimate in a video posted on social media that bigwigs in Zimbabwe’s spy agency may have been involved in the deal, which has raised interest from the country’s anti-corruption watchdogs and described as a typical case of State capture by some campaigners.

This week, Chivayo said it was not true that he had been summoned.

But impeccable sources said in one of the meetings, Chivayo had been threatened with legal action for defamation and was barred from visiting government offices.

“This is all false,” Chivayo said after being asked about his meetings with one of the security chiefs.

“The CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) director general never confronted me. But yes, I apologised to him in my public statement on my social media profiles,” Chivayo told the Independent.

When contacted for comment over Chivayo’s utterances and meetings with security chiefs, Information minister Jenefan Muswere said it was worrying that the reputation of top officials had been dragged and tarnished.

“It is absolute nonsense,” he said.

“Name dropping and braggadocio to magnify one’s social/political standing is illegal and inappropriate as it tarnishes the image and reputation of government officials,” Muswere told the Independent.

But the Independent was told that CIO boss Isaac Moyo was among top names who engaged the controversial tycoon after videos of his sensational claims emerged.

Chivayo rose to limelight about eight years ago, after clinching a deal with State power utility, Zesa Holdings, which raised Parliament’s ire.

Reports said last week Chivayo obtained a dubious US$40 million Zec tender to provide electoral materials for last year’s general elections.

The reports claimed the bill was inflated by up to 235%.

The reports claimed Zec also made the agreement with Chivayo and his associates to provide biometric voter registration kits for the contentious polls in the last election.

In an audio that has gone viral, Chivayo made sensational claims that some top government officials, including the CIO boss received illicit payments.

"Last week, the CIO boss confronted Chivayo over the current noise around the Zec tender and Chivayo apologised,” one of the sources told the Independent.

“The CIO boss even threatened to sue him," the source added.

Chivayo has been subject to controversy boasting of a life of splashing riches and buying vehicles for musicians, comedians and members of the Johanne Masowe sect.

The source further disclosed that Chivayo has since been banned from accessing government institutions.

"Chivayo has since been banned from accessing or getting close to government institutions. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also since instructed his team to block Chivayo from having access to the Office of the President,” the source said.

It is not the first time Chivayo has become the centre of attention for wrong reasons.

But in 2021, our sister paper, Newsday reported that the Supreme Court overturned a High Court ruling and effectively cleared the Zimbabwe Power Company, a unit of Zesa, to cancel a multi-million-dollar solar tender awarded to Chivayo and his Intratrek Company.

Chivayo was awarded the US$183 million Gwanda Solar Project tender, and he also received US$5 million pre-commencement fees without a bank guarantee and without any work done.

He was later sued by the ZPC seeking to have the contract nullified.

The businessman’s company rushed to the courts in 2018 after ZPC gave it two weeks to complete pre-commencement works at the site in Gwanda and to provide a bank guarantee, failure of which it would cancel the project.

In June 2019, High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi ruled that the contract between ZPC and Intratrek was still valid despite apparent contractual breaches by the contractor.

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