Prince Sunduzani, Business Reporter
FOREIGN technical partner of Intratrek Zimbabwe in the 100MW Gwanda solar project, CHiNT Electric, has been barred from accessing funds for three years by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
CHiNT electric has worked on different Zimbabwean projects and many others in Africa in the energy sector. A delegation from the $30 billion asset Shanghai Stock Exchange listed CHiNT, which turns over $12 billion annually, was expected in the country this week to renegotiate some of the terms of the $200 million Gwanda solar project contract.
The Zimbabwe Power Company has said it was evaluating progress made on pre-commencement works on the project site by Intratrek, which is fronted by businessman, Mr Wicknell Chivayo. The company was paid $5 million for the pre-commencement works without a bank guarantee and has been under fire for failure to implement the project on time.
In a statement, AfDB said an investigation by its office of integrity and anti-corruption unearthed that the company had engaged in numerous fraudulent activities in bidding for a number of bank financed power projects.
“An investigation conducted by the bank’s office of integrity and anti-corruption established that CHiNT Electric engaged in a multitude of fraudulent practices: In bidding for contracts in the context of numerous bank-financed power projects, the company mis-represented its experience with similar assignments in order to meet qualification requirements,” said AfDB.
“As part of the settlement, in consideration of the company’s cooperation with the investigation, the African Development Bank imposes a debarment on CHiNT Electric for a period of three years, subject to the company enhancing its corporate compliance programme within that period to the institution’s full satisfaction.”
The regional bank said during the debarment period, CHiNT Electric is ineligible to be awarded contracts under any AfDB financed project or to be a sub-contractor, consultant, supplier, or service provider of an otherwise eligible firm in the context of a bank-financed project. The conditions also call for similar action by several banks in Asia, Europe and America.
The period of debarment may be reduced to 24 months if CHINT Electric complies with all conditions of the agreement early.
“The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group,” said AfDB.
The bank said it will verify the adequacy of CHiNT Electric’s compliance framework and the robustness of its implementation prior to any release decision.
It said in addition, CHINT Electric has committed to cooperating with the office of integrity and anti-corruption in its investigations of unrelated cases of misconduct in AfDB financed projects.
“Procurement under the bank’s rules aims at ensuring optimal value for money for the bank’s regional member countries. The mis-representation of a bidder’s qualifications materially undermines this objective and is therefore taken very seriously by the institution,” said Mr Bubacarr Sankareh, acting director of the AfDB’s office of integrity and anti-corruption.
According to AfDB CHiNT Electric has worked on other projects in the country where they mis-represented the technical specifications, value, execution period and/or the degree of completion of contracts used as credentials in order to qualify for the tenders. These include the transmission rehabilitation of the Marvel and Chertsey substations equipment in the context of the lender financed emergency power infrastructure rehabilitation project phase two, works and equipment for the Prince Edward Dam substation and others in the context of the bank’s same programme and the transmission rehabilitation of the Sherwood and Orange substations also under the above mentioned programme.