Zimbabwe Power Company loses appeal over solar project contract

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by state-owned Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) against a lower court ruling that upheld a contract with Intratrek Zimbabwe for the development of a 100MW solar project.

ZPC had cancelled the contract with Intratrek in April 2018, accusing it of failing to meet its obligations and deadlines.

Intratrek challenged the cancellation in the High Court, which ruled in its favour in January 2023.

ZPC appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the contract was invalid and that Intratrek had breached its terms. However, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court decision, saying that the contract was still valid and binding on both parties.

In a statement on Wednesday, ZPC said that the Supreme Court judgement did not create any further liability on ZPC outside that which is contained in the contract, and that Intratrek was still required to facilitate the financing of the US$172 million project.

ZPC said that Intratrek had to satisfy all conditions precedent to the commencement of the project, including obtaining government approval for the borrowing instruments. ZPC said that it remained committed to a sustainable supply of power to the country.

The Gwanda solar project is part of ZPC’s plans to increase its generation capacity and reduce its reliance on hydroelectric power, which has been affected by recurrent droughts. Zimbabwe currently faces power shortages and imports electricity from neighbouring countries.

Intratrek is owned by businessman Wicknell Chivayo, who has been accused of corruption and fraud in relation to the solar project and other energy deals. He has denied any wrongdoing and said that he was ready to complete the project.

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