BUSINESSMAN Wicknell Chivayo and his company Intratrek Zimbabwe were yesterday acquitted of US$5,6 million fraud charge involving the Gwanda solar project.
Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube upheld Chivayo’s application for refusal of further remand. The businessman, instead, requested for a not guilty verdict.
Ncube said there was unreasonable delay in prosecuting Chivayo and his company.
The State had opposed Chivayo and his company’s applications arguing that the delays were not only attributed to the State, but to the various applications that Chivayo made to the upper courts.
Allegations were that sometime in 2012, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) resolved to increase its power generation capacity and a feasibility study was carried out.
In an August 2013 tender process to install a 100 megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda, a Chinese company China Jiangxi won the tender at a cost of US$183 million.
Chivayo also participated in the tender with a bid of US$248 million.
Chivayo’s alleged accomplice former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, reportedly directed ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro to award the tender to Chivayo at a cost of US$172 848 597.
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It was alleged that on October 23, 2015, ZPC acted on the misrepresentation and signed a contract with Chivayo for implementation of the project.
ZPC allegedly released US$5 607 814,24 into the Intratrek bank account for the project to take off.
Chivayo allegedly did not implement the project, but transferred the money into various individual and company accounts.
The State further alleged that Chivayo was also authorised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to load US$849 479 into his visa cards for the importation of earthmoving equipment from the United States for construction purposes at the Gwanda solar plant.
Chivayo failed to notify the Exchange Control Authority of all material particulars relating to the importation of the said equipment into Zimbabwe. Nothing was imported.
ZPC suffered a prejudice of US$5 607 814,24 and nothing was recovered.