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Minister summoned over Chivhayo solar project

By Auxilia Katongomara

Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo and former ministers Samuel Undenge and Dzikamai Mavhaire are set to appear before the Parliamentary committee on Mines and Energy today to answer questions on the Gwanda solar project awarded to flamboyant businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo.

Energy and Power Development Minister (also Acting Information Minister) Simon Khaya Moyo, flanked by his Permanent Secretary Patson Mbiriri and ZESA Holdings chairperson Herbert Murerwa, speaks before a parliamentary thematic committee in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

The Intratrek manager was paid $5 million by Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) for the solar project in Gwanda but not much has been done towards implementation of the project.The Parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy is carrying out investigations into the awarding of the tender to Mr Chivhayo with some irregularities having been noted already following the appearance of the latter before the committee as well as other officials from ZPC.

Committee chair, Mr Temba Mliswa said they were eager to question more officials among them former Mines and Energy Ministers over the project.

“Yes, we are meeting tomorrow and they will all be coming through. They have all agreed. So this is the last meeting we are having and the recommendations will come from the committee,” he said.

Mr Mliswa said they were expecting more officials to answer questions on the deal.

“But as Parliament we are going to be recommending soon after we have met former Ministers of Energy Dzikamai Mavhaire , Samuel Undenge and the current Minister Simon Khaya Moyo and the permanent secretaries so that we understand their involvement,” said Mr Mliswa.

Last month, the committee visited the site of the proposed Gwanda solar plant together with Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) executives, officials from Government departments such as the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Gwanda Municipality.The committee said it was disappointed that no work has been done at the site despite Intratrek having been paid $5 million for the project.

“For the Gwanda Solar project you saw what we did with ZPC, they came before us. What came out clearly is that work done is not commensurate with the money paid,” said Mr Mliswa.

He said after questioning the officials they would then come up with recommendations to be presented to Parliament.

Intratrek, a company owned by Mr Chivayo, was awarded the tender in 2013 and paid $5 million by ZPC to build the 100 megawatt Gwanda solar power plant.

After receiving the money without a bank guarantee, no meaningful development has taken place at the site.

Erected at the site are two cabins, toilets with no ablution facilities and a perimeter fence which does not cover the whole site.

The road network at the site is also poor. It also emerged that the proposed plant falls under State land and Intratrek has failed to pay the required money for leasing it.

“Clearly the money that was paid to Intratrek does not tally with what is on the ground. We just saw toilets with no ablution facilities and sewer, fence which is not done all the way. We need to find out from them why they have not completed the work,” said Mr Mliswa.

“ZPC were also very clear that they were not happy with work done so far and it is important for us to understand that this emanates from the oral evidence from Mr Chivayo when he came before us. ZPC also gave evidence to the committee.”

Mr Mliswa said his committee had picked a number of anomalies on the Gwanda project.

Chivayo denied claims that he won the tender because of his proximity to the former First Family especially the former First Lady, Grace Mugabe.  The Chronicle