Wicknell Chivayo to stand trial over bribery

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FLAMBOYANT businessman Wicknell Chivayo will now stand trial for bribery after the High Court ruled against his exception application.
Chivayo approached the High Court on review after the Harare Magistrates’ Courts dismissed his application for exception to bribery charges emanating from the Gwanda solar deal that he signed with the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).

In the application, his company Intratek (Pvt) Ltd, Chivayo and Stanley Nyasha Kazhanje were the applicants while the Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi and magistrates Chrispen Maturure were the respondents.

In a judgment delivered by High Court judges Benjamin Chikowero and Pisirai Kwenda yesterday, Chivayo and Kazhanje’s application was thrown out.

“The application for review has been dismissed. The matter is remitted to the court a quo for the applicants to plead to the charge with the matter proceeding to trial,” Chikowero and Kwenda ruled.

According to the criminal charges, Chivayo and Intratek are accused of having bribed Kazhanje to make decisions in their favour.

Chivayo, however, said his company participated in a public tender and won before being awarded a contract.
He said that following certain breaches, Intratek sued for specific performance in the High Court in a process which stalled the works.

Chivayo told the court they were first charged with fraud and placed on remand, with the High Court stating during the bail hearing that the State’s case was “patently weak and did not disclose an offence”.

Kazhanje argued that the State was attempting to charge him twice for one offence having been previously convicted for concealing the bribe to his principals.

While he had objected to pleading to the current bribery charge, the High Court dismissed his objection.
“The third applicant (Kazhanje) should plead to the charge. The matter should be tried. Further, whether there was a splitting of charges placing the third applicant in danger of a duplication of convictions on the same evidence is an issue we cannot consider at this stage.
“If he is convicted, his remedy may be to raise that as one of his grounds of appeal.”

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