BY VENERANDA LANGA

THE final forensic audit report on Zesa Holdings (2019) by PricewaterouseCoopers has revealed that former Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa approved the proposal to award Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratrek the US$183 million Gwanda Solar Project tender in 2013 ahead of China Jiangxi, which had won the tender.

The audit report was tabled before Parliament last week by Energy deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa.

It states that although China Jiangxi had won the tender and had offered to complete the project at a cost of US$183 708 238, Intratrek, which had ranked second then, broke the State procurement regulations and lobbied former Energy ministers Elton Mangoma and Dzikamai Mavhaire to be considered for the project.

In turn, Mavhaire is said to have called for a meeting with Chinamasa, where he recommended that Intratrek be considered and then Chinamasa approved it.

But the Gwanda 100-megawatt solar project never took off even though more than US$5 million initial payment had already been made to Chivayo.

“We held discussions with engineer Fambi and a Mr Mharadze to obtain an understanding of the basis on which the adjudication committee recommended the appointment of Intratrek Zimbabwe for the Gwanda solar project. Engineer Fambi explained that the adjudication committee did not recommend the appointment of Intratrek in its tender evaluation report,” read the forensic audit report.

“We further noted that on January 13, 2014, (former Zimbabwe Power Company managing director, engineer Noah) Gwariro wrote a letter to the State Procurement Board in which he recommended the appointment of a second 100-megawatt contract to Intratrek Zimbabwe, who had ranked second in the evaluation of tender number ZPC HO 10/2013.

“We interviewed engineer Gwariro who informed us that the variation was made on the basis of directives which were made by the former Minister of Energy, Mavhaire. He also informed us that Intratrek had lobbied with Mangoma and Mavhaire to be considered for the project and that this was improper conduct,” the auditors said.

The auditors also revealed that the directives from Mangoma to award Intratrek the contract were done verbally without documentation to prove that the directive had indeed come from the ministry.

“Engineer Gwariro’s request to appoint Intratrek Zimbabwe who was ranked second in the evaluation was in contravention of section 31(m) of the Procurement Act which states, ‘the procuring entity shall accept whichever valid tender offers the lowest price, unless other criteria are specified in the solicitation documents, in which event these criteria shall be followed’,” the auditors said.

They said Mavhaire then called for a meeting which was attended by Chinamasa and former State Procurement Board (SPB) principal director Cledywin Nyanhete.

“Mr (former Energy permanent secretary Partson) Mbiriri further stated that at the said meeting, Chinamasa approved the proposal and instructed the SPB to implement it accordingly. However, at the time of drafting this report, verbal indications from former secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Willard Manungo, were that they were not aware of the meeting having been held,” the forensic audit report said.

However, section 20(5) of the Procurement Act stipulates that any direction given by the President or any minister to the SPB must be gazetted.

The forensic audit also revealed that Gwariro continued to disregard provisions of the Procurement Act and wrote to the SPB to direct that Intratrek Zimbabwe’s bid be considered.