By Farirai Machivenyika
Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo faces prosecution with the risk of doing time behind bars after President Mnangagwa said the mistake made in awarding him the Gwanda solar project should not be repeated.
The President said this soon after touring Nyangani Renewable Energy, a solar power project in Mutoko, Mashonaland East on Saturday.
President Mnangagwa said Government had learnt a lesson from the Chivayo debacle compared to the success of the Nyangani project.
“Both experiences are good because we should never repeat what happened in Gwanda,” he said.
“So both experiences give us good lessons.”
He commended the Nyangani project adding that Government would in future avoid dealing with businessmen of Mr Chivayo’s ilk.
“Here is a project recently started and we are having 2,5MW in the national grid and soon it will be 10MW in the national grid. In Gwanda it is in the third year now and nothing has happened.
“We need in the future to have committed people who have experience in projects of this nature, not these fly by night briefcase businessmen,” President Mnangagwa said before abruptly adding a reminder that “Chikurubi is not full”, a reference to the maximum security prison on the outskirts of Harare.
Mr Chivayo was awarded the Gwanda solar project in 2013 and was paid over $5 million for pre-commencement works.
There is little progress on the Gwanda project yet Mr Chivayo has been flaunting his riches on social media.
He recently took a selfie of himself with stacks of South African rands.
He often boasts on social media about his riches, and that he always laughs last.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Norton legislator, Mr Temba Mliswa, carried an inquiry into the award of the tender to Mr Chivayo and has exposed several irregularities in the deal.
A tour by the parliamentary commitee of the project site in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, found two wooden cabins. The Chronicle