Wednesday 12 May 2021


A full hearing was required in the civil lawsuit between Intratrek Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Power Company before the High Court three years ago, the Supreme Court has ruled in an appeal judgment is in the process of being overtaken by events.

Intratrek was suing ZPC when it applied for a declaration confirming that the contract for the Gwanda Solar Project was valid, coupled with an order for specific performance. In default of that order it wanted US$25 million in damages. The validity order was granted by the High Court.

High Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi, absolved Intratrek of any wrong doing or causing delays in the implementation of the project and declared the contract valid, extant and enforceable. But the Supreme Court, allowing ZPC’s appeal, said the two parties should have first argued the matter in court.

“It is clear that this was a case incapable of resolution without going to trial to determine the merits on the basis of viva voce evidence,” said Justice Chinembiri Bhunu writing the judgment for the court.

But Intratrek chairman Mr Wilson Manase said after the Supreme Court judgment that the dispute had been resolved through negotiation and so the judgment was academic.

He said that the Government still wanted a solar component in the generation mix for environmental reasons and had authorised negotiations.

“After Cabinet Approval of the project last year in June Intratrek and ZPC have since negotiated and finalised a revised amended and restated contract which is ready for signature immediately. We await ZPC to obtain board approval so we proceed to sign the contract and subsequently implement the first phase.”

Mr Manase said Zimbabwe had endured close to two decades of power shortages. “As part of the revised contract we agreed to withdraw all pending litigation and focus on achieving 10 MW in 6 months after the contract and all security for payments agreements have been signed and all approvals from Ministry of Finance accomplished,” said Mr Manase.

In the court’s ruling, Justice Bhunu also noted that the country was facing a critical shortage of electricity, a vital necessity for the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry and the nation at large.

He said the two parties who turned protagonist were entrusted with improving the availability of the scarce resource in Gwanda. However, the parties had been embroiled in perpetual contractual disputes for more than five years without meaningful progress towards achieving the intended objective.

“It is therefore, of utmost importance that their contractual disputes must be resolved expeditiously for the common good,” said Justice Bhunu.

ZPC and Intratrek had signed $172 million agreement for the construction of the Gwanda solar project as part of Government efforts to address crippling power shortages. ZPC claimed the contract failed to meet conditions within the agreed period of 24 months.

However, Intratrek filed a lawsuit disputing the claims and making a counter claim that ZPC, as contractor, had frustrated implementation of the project, hence breached the contract. Herald


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