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Gwanda Solar Project Saga: Supreme Court reserves judgement in ZPC appeal against Chivayo’s contract reinstatement

By Staff Reporter

THE Supreme Court Wednesday reserved indefinitely,  its judgement in a case Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) is appealing against a High Court ruling reinstating businessman Wicknel Chivayo’s controversial Gwanda solar project.

The case was heard by a three panel bench comprising Justice Anne-Mary Gowora, Musakwa and Chiweshe.

ZPC through its lawyer Daniel Tivadar insisted that Chivayo did not fulfil the contract hence the High court erred when it ruled that the contract was binding and valid.

Tivadar said the project was supposed to have been completed in 2019.

“It’s common cause that the respondents have not satisfied the conditions precedent  and what they cannot tell this court is that we were going to fulfil the project. There is no evidence that’s the simple point,” said Tivadar.

RELATED: Gwanda Solar Project Saga: Supreme Court postpones ZPC appeal hearing against Chivayo’s contract reinstatement

Chivayo’s lawyer Advocate Lewis Uriri insisted that evidence by his client before the lower court was not contested.

“So the appeal is with no merit and ought to be dismissed in its entirety with costs,” said 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 this year, 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.

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