Minister Chasi Defends Decision To Order Wicknell Chivayo Fraud Charges Dropped
Minister of Energy and Power Development Fortune Chasi has defended his decision to order power company ZESA to drop all fraud charges against controversial businessman Wicknell Chivayo and to work with him instead.
This comes after the Minister raised the ire of many people when it was revealed that he had issued a directive to ZESA ordering them to drop the fraud charges pertaining to a US$5.6 million payment that was given to Chivayo. Chivayo was given the money as an advance on the contract of the US$200 million Gwanda Solar Power Project. However, despite being awarded the contract in 2015 and being given the US$5.6 million advance, Chivayo is yet to show any meaningful progress. The state alleges that he used the US$5.6 advance for his own uses.
After the directive was reported, there was a lot of outrage on social media, as people questioned Minister Chasi’s motivations and integrity. Chasi, however, defended his decision saying that he was doing what he felt was the best for the country. The Minister took to social media to outline the thought processes which had led to him issuing the directive for the fraud charges to be dropped.
Writing on social media platform Twitter, Chasi said,
GWANDA PROJECT: I promised to respond to the various questions that many have asked regarding the decision Gvt has taken on the future of the project.
The interest and concern shown by the public is both proper & warranted. Below I will set out the reasoning that has informed my stance on the matter.
Over the past yr since I was appointed I have hoped that a resolution would be found once the Board was in place. My hope was premised on the fact that there was a court order which required that the parties meet and agree
I will endeavour to set out the circumstances of this matter as briefly and as concisely as twitter will allow
Just for completeness, it’s important to note the 100 MW Gwanda Solar Project was advertised as a public tender, and, on the face of adjudicated upon and awarded.
Should we discount the fact that Mr Utedzi who is now consulting for Intratek, has world-class experience and has recently switched on a solar plant at Nyabira?
What are the options open to the country? Zesa lost twice in the High Court. They appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal has been pending for a while. It does not have a set down date as yet. Can we afford the luxury of endless litigation in the light of a new financing plan?
I know fully well that I will be vilified, at times by some who have no understanding of the matter. But it is ok. I hear the full responsibility for my decision & I understand the public concern. In my view, this is as it should be.
Should we completely ignore the fact that the experts like Utedzi have promised that within a period of 6 mths they will deliver the initial 10 mw? Should we instead start a new process that will take no less than 18 mths before work begins making it effectively 7 yrs?
The Minister’s explanation, however, did not seem to have carried any water with social media users who called on the Minister to follow due process. Some even accused him of being corrupt himself. A minority, however, applauded the Minister for his resolve saying that the project needed to be completed as quickly as possible to avoid electricity shortages.
Early last year, I was attacked and quickly dismissed when I indicated that @fortunechasi “the so-called Chibaba” is not different from other Zanu PF members.
A good person cannot stay in ZANU PF… NEVER
Zanu PF is evil…
Now he is busy defending corruption #ZanupfMustGo
— Sotsha Ngulube (@SotshaNgulube) June 11, 2020
Corruption is corruption. No need to sanitize it. Find other ways to get the projects delivered even if it will cost more given that you have lost the court case. If you work with this fraudster, you have set a bad precedence on corruption
— Tindo (@tendai_cleopas) June 10, 2020
U should have allowed the law to take its course minister. Stopping it creates a bad image of you and the government you are part of to Zimbabweans and the investors at large.
— Munya Phakathi (@phakathi_munya) June 10, 2020
Mudhara you are defending a thief and obstructing the course of justice!!
— irvor (@muks_irvor) June 10, 2020
@fortunechasi this is obstruction of justice, I hope you do realise that when you fall out of favour with the regime they will use this to nail you. Where is Undenge right now ?
— Jose (@j_nmat) June 10, 2020
It’s better for the project to delay by 18 months while allowing the law to take it’s cause.Tatojaira rima isu.
— Newton (@newzvou) June 10, 2020
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