22 November 2017
CONTROVERSIAL businessman, Wicknell Chivayo has dismissed reports that he is on the run following Operation Restore Legacy by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces last week, which targeted criminals around President Robert Mugabe.
As soon as the ZDF operation started, people took to various social media platforms to call for the arrest of Wicknell, especially over the ZPC tender saga whereby he was given $5million without a bond and against a Zesa management advice.
The money was meant for the feasibility studies, borehole drilling, site clearance, topographical and geo-technical surveys among other things but even parliamentarians have expressed dismay over lack of progress.
During a recent pre-budget workshop in Victoria Falls, Norton MP Themba Mliswa demanded answers from Energy Minister, Samuel Udenge.
“The ministry released $5 million that was given to Chivayo and we are trying to vote for a new budget. But it becomes difficult to deliberate on a new budget when there are some monies that are not accounted for.
“We need to know why he was given the money and nothing has been happening. As we speak, another consultancy company has taken over which shows that there was a scam because he has failed. So that money must be refunded to government. There are other allegations that part of the money was deposited to your account so we need receipts pertaining to all these issues before we pass the budget. Monies are being misappropriated so you need to account first before we approve,” said Mliswa.
When other MPs supported Mliswa, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda indicated that they will assign a committee to investigate the matter.
Wicknell triggered speculation that he had skipped the country last week, posting pictures of himself in South Africa.
And amid social media speculation that he had gone into hiding, Wicknell posted a stub of his South African Airways ticket as he made his way back to Harare from Joburg.
Yesterday H-Metro sought his comments on calls by some Zimbabweans that he be arrested from commercial crimes committed in recent years while using the cover of the first family, Wicknell requested that questions be sent to him on email so that his responses be captured accurately.
He however, mischievously posted the interview on his Facebook page.
Below is the interview:
QUESTION: What do you have to say to regarding people who are saying you should be arrested over the ZESA tender?
ANSWER: The ZPC tender, which Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd has an irrevocable and irreversible signed epc contract. The company is compliant with the contractual obligations enshrined in its epc contract for the 100 mw Gwanda project. Intratrek won this tender as lowest bidder to specification under an open tender process above board. Contractually Intratrek is answerable to the employer ZPC who are the owners of the project. The 2 parties are aligned in the progress and execution of this project and work is currently in progress at the power station site and proceeding in good order. The calls for anyone’s arrest are therefore malicious and unfounded and should be dismissed as mere speculation and conjecture.
Q: People are speculating on your whereabouts. Where are you?
A: I am and have been always in Zimbabwe. I’m a patriotic citizen and I love my country hence I have no intentions whatsoever of relocating. Our country needs pragmatic individuals with big brains like mine to help rebuild the economy.
Q: What progress have you made with regards to the Zesa tender?
A: Progress made can be ascertained by talking to the project owner ZPC and visiting the site. Suffice to say, pre commencement works are proceeding in good order and fund raising exercise for the actual project commencement are at an advanced stage.
Q: Is it fair for Zimbabweans to classify you as a criminal?
A: I might have made regrettable youthful misdemeanors in retrospect but that does not make me a criminal in any wide sense. At a time when constitutional matters are at the forefront it is instructive to refer to the constitution, which promotes the integration of ex-convicts into society and treats them equally to other Zimbabweans. So it’s not correct to call me a criminal. My record as a non-partisan, non factional patriot is what people should focus on instead of putting labels on me and casting aspersions on my character
Q: Where do you see Zimbabwe going?
A: Zimbabwe is poised for a massive growth trajectory especially in the energy sector in which i am a successful player. The discord that was prevailing in our ruling party will now be a thing of the past after the successful operation launched brilliant army commanders. We must now focus on building our economy to take its rightful place at the global table.
Q: Anything else you would like to say?
A: The unfolding historic events led by our gallant military have made it easier for the business community to participate fully without fear of factional inconsistencies within the ruling party which were now becoming a real curse to doing business in Zimbabwe. Long live Zimbabwe! Pamberi ne ZDF! Pasi ne factional politics.