A parliamentary committee has recommended that the $202 million Gwanda Solar Project tender, which was awarded to controversial firm Intratrek Zimbabwe in 2015, be immediately withdrawn and that former ministers be prosecuted if they flouted tender procedures in awarding the contract.
The Mines and Energy Portfolio committee also wants the boards of ZESA Holdings and the Zimbabwe Power Company to be dismissed for failing to follow good corporate governance practices in awarding the contract.
“The money paid to Intratek should be recovered after investigations are completed and the award (of the tender) to Intratek needs to be rescinded in light of violations of the Company’s Act and the (now) repealed Procurement Act,” committee chairperson Temba Mliswa said in a report tabled in the National Assembly on Thursday.
“Ministers and deputy ministers named in the corrupt activities at the Gwanda Solar Project should be investigated and prosecuted, and the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police should conduct an investigation on the ministers implicated in the scandal.”
Samuel Undenge, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Elton Mangoma and former deputy minister Munashe Mutezo that were said to be complicit in the deal.
Intratrek Zimbabwe is fronted by the flamboyant businessman, Wicknell Chivayo.
The Gwanda 100MW solar project is yet to take off and in February this year, ZPC told the committee that it had extended the contract for completion of pre-commencement works by six months until April 23 this year after the initial two year period had expired.
A visit to the site by the committee early this found two temporary shacks having been erected with no other work going on, despite Intratrek receiving $5, 6 million in unsecured advance payment.
The payment was purportedly for preparatory work on the solar plant, one of several power contracts that Intratrek was awarded by the government between 2015 and 2016, including the $73 million refurbishment of Harare power station; a $163 million project to restore Munyati power station; a new $128 million hydropower station at Gairezi.
“The committee was informed that the (ZPC) managing director Noah Gwariro acted without consulting the board because of pressure from politicians that included former ministers of energy, Mavhaire, Mangoma, Undenge and Mutezo. However, Mutezo appeared before the committee and denied the allegations,” said Mliswa.
The said they found that Undenge communicated directly with the board to influence payments to Chivayo.
“It was clear that Undenge used to have direct communication with ZPC management and was the one said to have instructed the ZPC board to make payments to Chivayo without (Chivayo) having to provide a bank guarantee,” said Mliswa.