HARARE – INTRATREK Zimbabwe’s plans to establish a 100-megawatt (MW) solar plant in Gwanda is in jeopardy after its technical partner, Shanghai-listed CHINT Electric (CHINT), was barred from accessing funds in Africa due to fraudulent practices.
This comes as CHINT’s executives were due to visit the country this week to renegotiate time extensions for raising money and other terms.
The Wicknell Chivayo-led company has come under intense pressure to deliver on the $200 million solar project, which has stalled since October 2015.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday said it has blacklisted CHINT for 36 months after an investigation conducted by the institution’s office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that the Chinese engineering company had engaged “in a multitude of fraudulent practices”.
“In bidding for contracts in the context of numerous bank-financed power projects, the company misrepresented its experience with similar assignments in order to meet qualification requirements,” the regional lender said.
As part of the settlement, in consideration of the company’s cooperation with the investigation, AfDB imposes a debarment on CHINT for a period of three years, subject to the company enhancing its corporate compliance programme within that period to the institution’s full satisfaction.
During the debarment period, the company is ineligible to be awarded contracts under any AfDB-financed project or to be a subcontractor, consultant, supplier, or service provider of an otherwise eligible firm in the context of a bank-financed project.
The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.
AfDB will verify the adequacy of CHINT ’s compliance framework and the robustness of its implementation prior to any release decision.
In addition, CHINT commits to cooperate with the Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption in its investigations of unrelated cases of misconduct in African Development Bank-financed projects.
The period of debarment may be reduced to 24 months if CHINT complies with all conditions of the agreement early.
“Procurement under the bank’s rules aims at ensuring optimal value for money for the Bank’s Regional Member Countries,” said Bubacarr Sankareh, AfDB’s acting director of the office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption.
“The misrepresentation of a bidder’s qualifications materially undermines this objective and is therefore taken very seriously by the institution.”
Between 2012 and 2017, CHINT participated in the tenders for the supply of 132-kV and 66-kV substation equipment for the Mendi substation and others in the context of the Bank-financed Rural Electrification II Project in Ethiopia.
Other projects that the Chinese firm participated in include the supply of substation equipment in the context of the Bank-financed Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe and the design and supply of 132-kV equipment for the Yabello and Buee substations in the context of the African Development Bank-financed Rural Electrification II Project in Ethiopia.
The engineering firm was also involved in the design and supply of a total of four substations at Iringa, Dodoma, Singida and Shinyanga in the context of the Bank-financed Electricity Transmission System Improvement Project in Tanzania and the transmission rehabilitation of the Marvel and Chertsey substations equipment in the context of the AfDB-financed Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project – Phase II in Zimbabwe.
According to AfDB, CHINT also got its hands on works and equipment for the Prince Edward Dam substation and others in the context of the Bank-financed Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project – Phase II in Zimbabwe and the transmission rehabilitation of the Sherwood and Orange substations in the context of the African Development Bank-financed Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project – Phase II in Zimbabwe.
In the context of the above tenders, CHINT misrepresented the technical specifications, the value, the execution period and/or the degree of completion of contracts used as credentials in order to qualify for the tenders.