MPs shock: Nothing done at Chivayo project, despite $7m payment

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THERE was shock and incredulity Wednesday as legislators toured the $200 million Gwanda project for which controversial and flamboyant businessman Wicknell Chivayo was paid a $7m advance by power utility ZESA.

In a deal that has come to be emblematic of corrupt tenderpreneurship, Chivayo’s Intratrek company was, back in 2013, awarded a $200 million deal to establish a solar power plant in Gwanda.

The contract was awarded by ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), which also paid Chivayo a controversial advance of between $5m and $7m.

ZPC senior managers have since been suspended over the deal with Chivayo, who regularly showed off his riches and ties to top politicians on social media, now under investigation by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate.

On Wednesday, members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy toured the site of the proposed power plant to discover that nothing has been done four years after the contract was awarded and up to $7m paid to Chivayo by ZPC.

The MPs found just two cabins, with toilets that have no ablution facilities at the site and a perimeter fence which does not even cover the whole site.

The road to the side has not been developed either.

 Members of Parliament visit the site on Wednesday

Said committee member and Glen View North MP Fani Munengami, “Two cabin structures worth a few thousand dollars are the only work done after Chivayo was paid $7 million by ZESA.”

He added; “It was just an investigative tour.

“As you are aware, we called Chivayo to Parliament a few weeks ago to give us an insight on how much (money) he received for the project and to explain how far the project had gone.

“This time we wanted to see what is on the ground since he has been paid. We found out that he was given the money, but the site has not been secured at all. The job done is worth less than $5,000.

“We saw nothing there. Chivayo was not even there but we just saw an engineer at the site. We discovered that there is controversy over the land for the project.

“We were told that the fence has been bought but it is yet to be erected.”

The legislator said the Chivayo case was proof that government is not interested in decisively dealing with corruption.

“This is what we have been saying all along. There is so much corruption in this country. People are stealing from the taxpayer and no arrests are being made,” he said.