By Tendai Kamhungira
Controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo has experienced a roller coaster life on his legal journey, as a senior official of the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) partially exonerated him in his $5,6 million fraud trial on Friday.
This also comes as the Intratek Zimbabwe (Intratek) founder’s High Court bid to have the case dismissed collapsed on numerous occasions, while in another breath he has emerged victorious.
High Court judge Tawanda Chitapi recently ruled in his favour in a $25 million lawsuit, and stated that the parties’ contract was valid. But, another judge Joseph Musakwa, said the businessman must face trial after upholding the Harare Magistrates’ Court’s decision to dismiss his exception application relating to the ZPC deal.
Things however, turned rosy again for the flamboyant businessman, during his trial last Friday, when ZPC financial director Eubert Chiwara told the Harare Magistrates’ Court that his tender was awarded after recommendations by the ZPC evaluation committee and the then State Procurement Board.
Asked by defence lawyer Lewis Uriri if Intratek was one of the three companies — out of an initial shortlist of six — whose bids had been compliant with the law, the parastatal boss confirmed that the company and its board had done its evaluations and awarded the contract after input from supply chain managers.
The feisty lawyer argued that it was incorrect for the State to allege that Chivayo had prejudiced the institution of nearly $6 million when work valued at $3,6 million had been done and an evaluation report by ZPC engineers had only red-flagged outstanding work of $1,8 million.
“It is alleged the accused was paid without an advance payment guarantee, but for some of the payments made, there was no need for advance payment guarantee because it was not an advance payment. ZPC was paying for work already done not which was to be done,” he said.
According to Uriri, Chivayo had done some of the work at the site, even though it was not yet complete, because ZPC failed to obtain an Environment Impact Assessment certificate from the Environmental Management Agency (Ema).
“ZPC had the obligation to secure Ema certificate within those 24 months. Accused could not do some of the work because at law you cannot do any project without being certified by Ema,” he said.
Chivayo’s lawyer said if there was malperformance, ZPC should seek remedy through civil route or arbitration rather than pursuing criminal charges.
The matter will be back in court on March 28 when the State is to call its second witness. DailyNews