Chivayo begs another chance to complete bungled Gwanda solar project

HARARE – Businessman and socialite Wicknell Chivayo has begged for another chance to work on the Gwanda solar project whose contract was terminated after his Intratek company bungled the job through delays.

He said this under cross examination with Daniel Tivadar, the lawyer representing the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) in a case he is suing the government owned firm US$25 million for terminating the US$173 million deal inked between the parties.

Chivayo said if given another chance, he is going to complete the first phase of the 100-Megawatt project in half a year.

ZPC withdrew the contract when Chivayo’s company failed to complete preliminary obligations after being paid US$5,6 million by the power generator.

To compound his nightmares, the businessman was prosecuted on alleged corruption but charges were later thrown out after he excepted.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) however revived the case with trial now set to commence later this month.

On Tuesday, Chivayo submitted that people should not be too shocked over delays in executing projects saying there was nothing unusual considering the hostile Zimbabwean economy.

“There is nothing unusual with projects taking longer because of a lot of things like the country’s economic sanctions and solvent risks associated with our country,” he said.

The businessman said he longed for another opportunity to fulfil what the parties had initially agreed.

He said he previously played his part by approaching banks in a bid to fund the projects and did nothing wrong.

Chivayo also blamed local media for ruining his dream through publishing stories he insisted were fraught with factual errors.

He also confessed that his company paid subcontractors who did the pre-commencement works after ZPC refused to pay.

Asked by the ZPC lawyer to produce official information to support his claims, the businessman admitted there was no paper trail carrying any correspondence between him and the bank.

A cornered Chivayo said approvals do not just come.

“You start with negotiations, you cannot just start by getting loan agreements,” he said, adding that ZPC was the borrower and as such, would be in possession of the documentation.

Chivayo also told court that he assisted ZPC to get land for the project to prove that he wanted it to excel.

Trial continues Wednesday with Tivadar winding up his cross examination.

The initial plan was to finish the trial in four days.

High Court Judge Justice Siyabona Musithu is presiding over the matter.

Chivayo is being represented by Advocates Lewis Uriri and Taona Nyamakura.

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