- Wicknell Chivayo with a rented Rolls in Dubai
The Zimbabwe government has been forced to explain alleged energy tender corruption involving jailbird Wicknell Chivayo, a business front for president Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe.
Energy minister Samuel Undenge this week told journalists that there was nothing untoward about Chivayo getting several state energy contracts.
“The winners of the projects were selected through a competitive tender process that involved a total of six bidders who responded to the request for proposals, which required compliance with funding, technical and price specifications of each of the project tenders,” Undenge told the state-run Herald.
Undenge’s statement has achieved the opposite effect, however, with vocal calls for the $128 million tender award to Intratrek, the company Chivayo claims to own, to be reviewed.
Details published in the state media in an apparent public relations job for Grace Mugabe and Chivayo indicate that the flamboyant businessman has no track record in the energy sector.
Officials at Zesa Holdings chaired by former finance minister Herbert Murerwa confirmed they were investigating Chivayo’s tenders. Sources said Murerwa wanted the deals nullified on the grounds that Chivayo had served two years for serious financial crimes and was ineligible for government contracts involving large amounts.
It also emerged that Chivayo may have misrepresented his associations with two foreign companies and is being used as a front to circumvent black empowerment laws.
It should have been simple tender fraud where Grace Mugabe used her influence as Mugabe’s wife with information about pending government contracts to get lucrative state jobs on behalf of her ‘friend’ Chivayo. However, the deal went wrong after ex-convict Chivayo, who served two years in prison for money laundering, started bragging about it. Chivayo also ruffled feathers when he reneged on a deal to sponsor the national soccer team, the Warriors.
© Now Media 2016. All Rights Reserved.