Power producer takes fight over Mutare power plant tender to Parliament

Power producer takes fight over Mutare power plant tender to Parliament

HARARE, April 27 (The Source) – Independent power producer, Pito Investments on Tuesday took its battle against the State Procurement Board (SPB) to Parliament hoping to persuade lawmakers to intervene in the dispute after the firm was elbowed out of a tender to set up the Zimbabwe Power Company’s 120-megawatt Mutare Peaking Plant.

ZPC, a subsidiary of power utility, Zesa Holdings as required by government flighted, a tender for the Mutare plant through the SPB in mid-2014.

The 120MW plant will strictly be used to provide power in cases of emergency.

The tender required that bidders establish a power plant through setting up either four stations producing 30 MW each or three stations producing 40MW each.

Pito Investments and another local firm, Helcraw, which was eventually awarded the tender, were among the seven companies that participated in the bidding process.

After the ZPC completed appraisals of the bids, it recommended to the SPB that Pito be awarded the tender.

The board however awarded the deal to Helcraw, which according to Pito Engineering general manager technical, Timothy Nunu, did not meet the tender specifications.

Nunu told the Mines and Energy Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that the SPB had irregularly awarded the tender to a company that did not meet the specifications.

In its tender, which met ZPC requirements, Pito said it would cost $120 million to set up the plant while Helcraw’s bid was at $90 million.

“The tender was flawed because the recommended winner was Pito and Pito was for some reason disqualified,” Nunu told the mines and energy committee, which is chared by Daniel Shumba.

“Helcraw was awarded despite their offer having been out of spec.”

Nunu said ZPC had recommended that his firm be awarded the tender as the utility did not only focus on the cost of setting up the plant but also on technical specifications.

Helcraw on the other hand, had submitted that it would set up two 60 MW stations at a cost of $90 million which was not the requirement.

Pito Investments director Alex Chidembe queried the sense of going to tender, outlining technical specifications if the eventual winner would just be based on the price alone.

Some members of the committee insinuated that there could possibly have been underhand dealings that saw the SPB awarding the tender to a firm that did not meet the tender specifications.

After Pito lost the tender, the firm took the matter to the High Court and Supreme Court but in both cases, its appeals were dismissed on technicalities.

The committee said it would fully investigate the matter, after which it will come up with its conclusions and recommendations.