ZPC appeal against Chivayo’s Intratrek thrown out, Supreme Court confirms Gwanda Solar Project contract is valid

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By Mary Taruvinga

The Supreme Court has dismissed Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC)’s appeal against a High Court ruling reinstating businessman Wicknel Chivayo’s controversial Gwanda solar project.

This brings to an end the dragging legal dispute that has been ongoing since 2015.

Justices Joseph Musakwa and George Chiweshe handed down a brief judgement also slapping ZPC with costs.

“The appeal is being dismissed. The appellant shall pay costs of suit,” said Musakwa further stating that a full judgement will be available later.

ZPC through had noted an appeal complaining that Chivayo did not fulfil the contract hence the High Court erred when it ruled that the contract was binding and valid.

Its lawyer Daniel Tivadar said the project was supposed to have been completed in 2019.

Chivayo’s lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri insisted that evidence by his client before the lower court was not contested.

Chivayo, through his company Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Intratrek), had sued ZPC for US$22 million for defamation after ZPC caused his arrest.

He also demanded US$3 million in compensation for expenses he had incurred between 2013 and 2018 funding the project.

In January this year, High Court judge Justice Siyabona Musithu upheld Chivayo’s application before slapping ZPC with costs on a higher scale.

Chivayo had argued ZPC tarnished his integrity by getting him arrested on fraud allegations emanating from the named project.

However, ZPC filed an appeal at the Supreme Court complaining that the lower court erred when it ruled in favour of Chivayo.

The agreement between ZPC and Intratrek was signed after a successful tender bid, for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a 1 000MW Gwanda Solar Power Station Project.

Intratrek was awarded as the lowest compliant bidder to specification out of 6 bidders at US$173 million.

A bid to revive the case by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) failed again after the businessman and his company were found not guilty and acquitted.