PARLIAMENT has urged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)and the police to immediately investigate businessman Wicknell Chivayo and four former energy ministers for alleged corrupt activities in the $183 million Gwanda solar project.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chairperson Temba Mliswa yesterday told The Standard that failure to do so would result in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zacc being brought before Parliament to explain their inaction.
The former Energy ministers are Samuel Undenge, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Elton Mangoma and Munacho Mutezo.
The order to take action arises from a report by the Mines Committee released last Thursday in Parliament which revealed there was political interference in the awarding of the Gwanda national solar project to Chivayo’s Intratek company and in the release of $5,6 million for the pre-commencement works without a bank guarantee.
“We have made our recommendations as a committee and it is now a constitutional obligation that law enforcement agencies like Zacc and ZRP must immediately take action and investigate Chivayo and the ministers and prosecute them,” Mliswa said.
“If they do not do that immediately as recommended by Parliament, then we as a committee will summon Zacc and the police to find out why they are not implementing the recommendations.”
Mliswa said even though Parliament had been dissolved for the forthcoming elections, the recommendations would still stand and the next Mines committee members must follow them up and ensure action would be taken as recommended by the previous committee.
On political interference, it was alleged that Undenge was the one who gave clearance for the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to pay Chivayo without a bank guarantee.
In his oral evidence before the committee, Chivayo said he knocked on the doors of influential people that included Mavhaire, Mangoma, Undenge, the late State Procurement Board chairperson Charles Kuwaza, and the Chief Secretary to Cabinet to persuade them to give the Gwanda solar tender to his company without following proper tender procedures.
After a visit to the Gwanda solar project in February, MPs were shocked to find that work on-site was a far cry from the amount of disbursements made and the timelines outlined in the contract. ZPC officials also acknowledged before the committee that work on-site was not commensurate with the payments made to Chivayo.
“The committee observed two temporary housing structures and partial clearing of the ground. The work for which payments had been released and not yet completed included a proper access road, basic ablution facilities, communication network, electricity, water siting and borehole drilling and storage,” the report said.
The committee report also condemned the Zesa board and ZPC management for lack of fiduciary responsibility resulting in Chivayo getting paid without any work done.
In April, Energy ministry secretary Patson Mbiriri was said to have advised the Mines committee that Intratek had returned on-site to complete pre-commencement work.
“The reasons for Intratek’s return were that ZPC was trying to reduce its financial exposure and, secondly, the contract between the parties had not been terminated. Zesa CEO Josh Chifamba and management of ZPC decided to overlook all the violations of the law made in the awarding of the contract to Intratek,” the committee observed.
“The committee noted with concern that the parastatal was not willing to pierce the corporate veil of Intratek, but to focus on Intratek as a legitimate company with a strong technical partner, Chint Electric. It is the committee’s position that the culture and style of doing business has not changed at Zesa under this new political dispensation,” the report said.
The committee said Chivayo might have failed to get a bank guarantee because of his previous criminal conviction, but they were surprised why he failed to get the bank guarantee through his technical partner Chint Electric which he had boasted was a multi-million dollar company with a footprint across the globe.
Parliament also recommended that as a result of the Chivayo scam, disciplinary hearings must be conducted for all executives who violated regulations and procedures.