Chivayo hires top lawyers for ZPC suit

Published: 14 October 2019
BUSINESSMAN Wicknell Chivayo has hired top international lawyers Francois Joubert and Adrian de Bourbon, as his battles with the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) resume in the Supreme Court this week.

This comes as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is seeking prosecuting powers for at least 200 high-profile cases and the controversial businessman has been desperate to fend off state appeals against his High Court acquittal on fraud charges, and reinstatement of his Gwanda solar project-contract.

"Through legal practitioners (Ashton Musunga), who are instructing me in the cases for which I am now applying again for regis- tration, I have previously applied for a residential exemption certificate in terms of section 7 of the Legal Practitioners'Act, which ... was granted firstly on March 21, 2001 and ... 2006," Joubert said in a recent application.

"I have been briefed to represent my instructing attorney's clients in the matters ZPC versus Intratrek Zimbabwe (Intratrek) SC 02/19, the State v Intratrek ... and ... Chivayo SC 422/19 and State v ... Stanley Nyasha Kazhanje," he said.

Chivayo said he needed Joubert's help in fighting off all these three

 major cases and a denial of Joubert's admission would not only infringe on his rights, but impair his chances of sustaining the criminal acquittal by Justice Owen Tagu and the rein- statement of his contract by Justice Tawanda Chitapi.

The Intratrek owner has rushed to court after Justice secretary Virginia Mabhiza had on Septem- ber 24 declined the request on the basis that South Africa was not a "reciprocating country", but her boss Ziyambi Ziyambi later pleaded for more time to decide on whether the US$10 000-a-day advocate could

 be allowed to serve on the Zimbabwean bar.

"I am advised ... that the respond- ent (the minister), as an admin- istrative authority, should make decisions that are lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, impartial and both substantively and procedurally ..," Chivayo said, adding "I must have unfettered room, choice to the best legal minds and which right will be severely impaired if Joubert was disbarred".

"I must also further emphasise that one of the matters for which
I have engaged 2nd applicant has been set down for the 14th of October (today)... If this matter is not enlisted ... I stand to suffer great economic and financial prejudice ...," he said.

But Ziyambi said: "It appears to me that the secretary may have

misconstrued the purpose for which I passed on 2nd applicant's applica- tion to her. She probably thought that I wanted her to respond ... which was definitely not the case as this is the kind of application, which ... requires the ... exercise of my personal discretion."

"... I am still seized with this matter of 2nd applicant (Joubert)'s application. I accordingly take the view that the urgent application brought against me is premature," he said.

While Chivayo had amassed $600 million worth of energy deals through the then State Procure- ment Board's three-envelope tender system, his troubles started after the ouster of the late former president Robert Mugabe's government in November 2017.

The deals include the Chint Electric-backed 100 megawatt (MW) deal in Matabeleland South, the 30 MW Gairezi hydro-electric project in partnership with Bharat Heavy Equipment Limited, US$170 million repowering of Harare and refurbishment of Munyati.

But as his legal problems mounted, Chivayo recently rushed back to his Gwanda site to complete pre-commencement works in com- pliance with Chitapi's December 2018 judgment.

- dailynews
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