The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy has expressed disappointment at poor preparatory works that have been undertaken by Intratek at the proposed site of the 100MW Gwanda solar project
The company was advanced more than $5 million for the works.
This emerged during a tour of the project site by legislators, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) executives, officials from Government departments such the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and Gwanda Municipality.
Intratek, a company owned by flamboyant Harare businessman Mr Wicknell Chivayo , was awarded the tender in 2013 to build the solar power plant.
After controversially receiving the money without a bank guarantee, no meaningful development has taken place at the site.
There are currently two cabins erected at the site, a perimeter fence, and toilets that have no ablution facilities.
Further, the road network around the area is appalling.
The team also managed to gather that Intratrek was failing to pay funds to lease the State land where the proposed plant will be situated.
In an interview after the tour, chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy Mr Temba Mliswa said the work at the site was not commensurate with the money that had been paid by ZPC.
“Clearly, the money that was paid to Intratek does not tally with what is on the ground. We just saw toilets with no ablution facilities and sewer, fence, which is not done all the way,” he said.
“We need to find out from them why they have not completed the work.
“ZPC were also very clear that they were not happy with work done so far and it is important for us to understand that this emanates from the oral evidence from Mr Wicknell Chivayo when he came before us. ZPC also gave evidence to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.”
Mr Mliswa said his Parliamentary Portfolio Committee had picked a number of anomalies on the Gwanda project.
“There are so many anomalies that include lack of expertise,” he said.
“The land tenure is also not there, so how can you talk about owning the project when you don’t even have the right documentation of owning the land?
“They (ZPC) and the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (formerly State Procurement Board) who awarded the tender are appearing before the committee on the 14th of March and after that we will submit our findings.”
It emerged during a briefing before the tour yesterday that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement withdrew Intratek’s application to lease the land due to the contractor’s failure to pay an annual subscription fee of $15 000.
Mr Mliswa said the subscription fee was paid by ZPC and the power utility has applied to lease the land.
“So, we are now asking ourselves how in the first place he (Wicknell Chivayo) was given this project when he did not have proper land documentation defining the tenure,” he said.
“We also have the (EIA) Environmental Impact Assessment from EMA coming in, why was it issued a year later?”
Responding to questions from the committee, ZPC acting managing director Mr Josh Chirikutsi admitted that his organisation had not done due diligence to ascertain if Intratek had proper documentation for the land.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee argued that ZPC was supposed to secure its documents first before starting the project.
The committee has previously grilled Wicknell Chivayo over the manner in which he won the tender in 2013.
Wicknell Chivayo has also admitted that he was paid by the power utility without a bank guarantee following the intervention of former Minister of Energy and Power Development Dr Samuel Undenge.
Suspended ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro had refused to pay him the money without the guarantee.