CONTROVERSIAL businessman Wicknell Chivayo appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court yesterday facing four charges of fraud, money laundering and contravening Exchange Control Act for corruptly receiving $5 million from Zimbabwe Power Company.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Chivayo (39), who is being charged together with his company Intratrek Zimbabwe, pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before magistrate Elisha Singano, who remanded him in custody to today for bail application continuation.

The businessman who was arrested at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport on his way to South Africa despite the knowledge that the police were looking for him, was represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri while the State is represented by Michael Reza and Zivanai Macharaga.

The complainant is Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), represented by Board member Thandiwe Mlobane.

Allegations are that sometime in 2012, ZPC resolved to increase its national grid and a feasibility study was carried out and a tender process done in August 2013 for installation of a 100 Megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda.

The tender was awarded to a Chinese company, China Jiangxi, at a cost of $183 million. Chivayo also participated in the tender with a bid of $248 million the third lowest.

The State alleges Chivayo’s alleged accomplice former Energy minister Samuel Undenge who is yet to be arrested interfered with tender process and directed ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro to award the tender to Chivayo at a cost of $172 848 597.

It is alleged on October 23, 2015 that ZPC acted on the misrepresentation and signed a contract with Chivayo for implementation of the project.

ZPC allegedly released $5 607 814, 24 into the Intratrek Bank account for the project to take off. Chivayo allegedly did not implement the project, but converted or transferred the money into various individual and company accounts.

The State alleges that Chivayo was also authorised by the RBZ to load $849 479 into his visa cards for the importation of earth moving equipment from the United States for construction purposes at the Gwanda Solar Project.

However, it was alleged that Chivayo failed to notify the Exchange Control Authority of all material particulars relating to the importation of the said equipment into Zimbabwe only to realise that none was imported.

ZPC suffered a prejudice of $5 607 814.24 and nothing recovered.