Harare, Zimbabwe – We have received several unconfirmed reports claiming that controversial and flamboyant businessman Wicknell Chivayo, commonly known as Sir Wicknell was picked up by officers from Serious Fraud Squad at his residence this morning.
Chivayo’s company, Intratek Zimbabwe, was awarded a $200 million USD tender by Zimbabwe’s power utility company ZESA.
He was also awarded a further $73 million for the refurbishment of the Harare Power Station, $163 million for the restoration of the Munyati Power Station, and $248 million for the Gairezi Power project by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) — a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings.
An advance payment of $5 million was made to Chivayo for the Gwanda Solar project’s pre-commencement works, despite him not providing a performance guarantee as required by law.
The performance guarantee acts as financial security and is supposed to be presented by the contractor before commencement of works. It insulates the client if the contractor fails to fulfill obligations set out in the contract.
A year after winning the multi-million-dollar tender and despite getting the US$5 million payment for pre-commencement works, Intratrek Zimbabwe reportedly abandoned the project site after only three months’ work.
The US$5 million covered feasibility studies, topographical surveys, borehole sinking, site clearance, geo-technical surveying, site fencing, way-leaves and construction of administrative structures.
A report carried in the Zimbabwe Independent claimed that Chivayo had been asked to return the $5 million by ZESA. Another report, stated that, ZESA’s board will meet next week to deliberate on energy contracts awarded to Chivayo.
Parliament also turned its heat towards the dodgy businessman. The chairperson of the Energy portfolio committee, Daniel Shumba, was quoted by the Daily News as having said that, “We would want to investigate if proper procedure was followed. So, we will not rush to allege. If any procedure, standards and corporate governance issues were violated, then we will take it from there.”
Chivayo has been convicted of fraud in the past, and earned himself a jail term. He is believed to have avoided prosecution on several other charges largely because of his relationship with former President Robert Mugabe, and his wife former first lady Grace Mugabe.
Rumours of Chivayo’s imminent arrest began to swirl as soon as President Mugabe resigned, and Emmerson Mnangagwa inaugurated as the country’s new President. His associate, close friend, and dodgy businessman Philip Chiyangwa was the recipient of similar rumours.
Chivayo was forced to deny the arrest rumours just days ago, but the heat surrounding his ZESA deals did not die down.
Africa Cradle was unable to confirm at the time of writing if Chivayo had indeed been arrested. His cellphone went straight to voicemail, while WhatsApp messages were not delivered, indicating his phone was off.
Late last night, Chivayo had tried to reach our correspondent. His calls were missed. Chivayo’s close friend confirmed the arrest via WhatsApp.
Police were unavailable for comment. Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba’s cell number rang unanswered.