Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo’s multi-million energy deals with the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) are in jeopardy, as Zesa Holdings has reportedly started a process to review the tenders because of his criminal record.
According to documents seen by The Standard last week, some Zesa board members have started querying how Chivayo was awarded deals worth $441 million, given his 2004 conviction for fraud.
The board members want an investigation to establish whether there were no violations of the Companies and State Procurement Board (SPB) Act when Chivayo was awarded the contracts.
Former Finance minister Herbert Murerwa’s board is worried that ZPC’s association with an ex-convict could pose financial and reputational risk to the organisation.
“In the past few days, the media has been awash with articles about this gentleman and of concern is that ZPC, during our term, has awarded various multi-million dollar tenders to a convicted fraudster,” a document copied to all board members reads.
Zesa chief executive officer Josh Chifamba and ZPC board chair Stan Kazhanje were some of the many people copied in the email.
Chivayo was sentenced to five years imprisonment with labour, with two years suspended to three, after being found guilty of stealing $37 665 000 through false pretence in 2004.
“I think this poses various questions to which we must have answers and take corrective action to contain the financial and reputational risk which this situation presents as the shareholder of ZPC.According to the Companies Act, can a convicted fraudster be a director and a shareholder for a company?” the document queries.
“Was the conviction disclosed to us at tender stage and if so, did we make a deliberate decision to overlook this?”
The document further asked if ZPC did a proper job to award Chivayo the tender under the circumstances and what corrective measures the company could take.
The procurement policies, the document added, lacked checks and balances as it focused on financial and technical compliance, overlooking the need to engage with reputable individuals and companies.
“We owe the people of Zimbabwe a better deal than Intratek. If we have integrity, how do we align ourselves with such a company?
“No doubt due to the recent articles, heads will also roll from our principal who has somewhat been dragged to the foray. In my view, the ZPC board and management have a case to answer and so do we as Zesa Holdings,” reads the leaked document.
“I believe that the reputation of ZPC, ZH, board and management and Zesa at large is at risk as a result of this and as a board, we urgently need to address this matter. It would be a serious lapse in judgment or unwise of us if we were to ignore it or wish it away.”
It added: “In our role, we hold the nation’s hopes to bring desperately needed power solutions to the nation of Zimbabwe.
“I feel it is only our duty to have a position and solution on how we can possibly get ourselves out of this situation where we have placed such a huge responsibility on Intratek to deliver those hopes not on one occasion, but on several of those opportunities.”
Kazhanje referred all questions to Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira.
Gwasira promised to respond by last night but had not done so at the time of going to print. Chifamba’s phone was not being answered yesterday.
Chivayo’s Intratrek was given a ZPC tender to set up solar power stations.