THE Supreme Court yesterday postponed to next week the hearing of an appeal by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) which is contesting a High Court ruling reinstating young businessman Wicknel Chivayo’s controversial Gwanda solar project. The case was set to be heard yesterday, but could not kick off after it emerged that ZPC papers were not ready.
“The matter could not be heard because the record was not in order. It was incomplete,” said Chivayo’s lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri.
Chivayo, through his company Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Intratrek) had sued ZPC US$22 million for defamation after ZPC caused his arrest. He had also demanded US$3 million compensation for expenses he had incurred between 2013 and 2018 funding the project.
In January 2023, High Court judge Justice Siyabona Musithu upheld Chivayo’s application before slapping ZPC with costs on a higher scale.
“Resultantly it is ordered that: The procurement contract for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC Contract) of the 100MW Gwanda Solar Project (ZPC 304/2015) between the plaintiff and the defendant as amended is valid and binding between them.
“Consequent to the declaration of the validity of the EPC Contract, an order for specific performance of the said contract is hereby granted.
“The defendant’s (ZPC) claim in reconvention is hereby dismissed with costs. The defendant shall pay the plaintiff’s costs of suit in the claim in convention.”
Chivayo had argued ZPC tarnished his integrity by getting him arrested on fraud allegations emanating from the named project. The ruling was expected to bring to an end the legal dispute that started in 2015. However, ZPC filed an appeal at the Supreme Court complaining that the lower court erred when it ruled in favour of Chivayo.
The agreement between ZPC and Intratrek was signed subsequent to a successful tender bid, for the engineering, procurement, and construction of a 1 000MW Gwanda Solar Power Station Project. Intratrek was awarded as the lowest compliant bidder to specification out of 6 bidders at a cost of US$173 million.
A bid to revive the case by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) failed again after the businessman and his company were found not guilty and acquitted.