A year after winning the tender to construct the US$202 million Gwanda Solar Project, and getting US$5 million for pre-commencement works, Intratek Zimbabwe has reportedly abandoned the project site after only three months’ work, it has emerged.
According to sources in Spitzkop suburb where the project is sited, Intratek Zimbabwe workers hit the ground around October 2016, but had by December moved all earth-moving equipment from the site.
The Sunday Mail was shown the area where the solar plant is to be situated, and much of it has not been cleared.
The solar project has long been mirred in controversy; from the awarding of the tender in October 2015 to the April 2016 payment of US$5 million for pre-commencement works by the Zimbabwe Power Company, which was reportedly done without a bank guarantee.
The US$5 million covered feasibility studies, topographical surveys, borehole sinking, site clearance, geo-technical surveying, site fencing, wayleaves and construction of administrative structures.
When Intratek Zimbabwe won the tender, it announced that Chint Electric of China would be its engineering, procurement and construction partner.
Media reports suggested that the two partners were looking to India Eximbank for financial support.
In responses to e-mailed questions, Intratek Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Wicknell Chivayo said they had completed 70 percent of pre-commencement works, which, however, only form about three percent of the complete works.
He said once financial closure was reached, the project would take about 18 months to complete.
Questions sent to Zimbabwe Power Company, the project owners, had not been responded to by the time of going to print.
Chivayo US$200m project stalls