By Fidelis Munyoro
Businessman and Intratrek Zimbabwe (Private) Limited director Wicknell Chivayo was last Friday granted $2 000 bail pending trial, after the High Court found that the prosecution case was weak to induce the businessman to flee the country and evade trial.
Chivayo is facing charges of defrauding the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) of over $5 million, money laundering and violating Exchange Control Regulations.
After Harare magistrate Mr Elisha Singano denied him bail, Chivayo approached the High Court on appeal arguing bail is a statutory right derived from the Constitution, which cannot be denied unless there are compelling reasons.
He was also required surrender title deeds for his Borrowdale house and report twice a week at CID Frauds.
In granting bail, Justice Chikowero accepted submissions by Chivayo’s lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri, that the lower court acknowledged that there was no misrepresentation in the Chivayo deal with ZPC because the first accused was Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited that was awarded a tender by the State Procurement Board and subsequently signed a contract with ZPC.
The judge noted that the lower court conceded that there are no essential elements for fraud and the money laundering charge, a development likely to see the charges collapsing as the source of the money involved was known.
Adv Uriri had said the case was a purely business transaction based on contractual provisions and obligations hence ZPC can enforce civil remedies in terms of the contract between the parties.
In addition, Adv Uriri said the presumption of innocence still worked in favour of his client until proven guilty.
The State, led by Mr Tinashe Kansema, had strenuously opposed the appeal arguing the lower court’s decision was properly arrived at and could not be faulted.
But Justice Chikowero found merit in Chivayo’s explanation.
In the magistrates’ court, Mr Singano had denied Chivayo bail saying he was a flight risk, describing him as a globetrotter with international connections.
The charges against Chivayo arose after his company, Intratrek Zimbabwe, was allegedly corruptly awarded the Gwanda Solar Power plant tender by ZPC at the instigation of the then Minister of Energy and Power Development, Samuel Undenge.
It is alleged Chivayo failed to execute the project despite getting $5 607 814, 24 from Government.
Chivayo is denying the charge arguing the State case is fanciful and porous to secure conviction.
Adv Uriri was instructed by Mr Wilson Manase of Manase and Manase law firm.