Fresh fuel loot­ing scam rocks CMED

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Free­man Razemba

SE­NIOR CMED (Pvt) Ltd of­fi­cials have been ac­cused of col­lect­ing fuel from the Na­tional Oil In­fra­struc­ture Com­pany (NOIC) re­port­edly for Gov­ern­ment busi­ness, only to di­vert it to pri­vate ser­vice sta­tions for re­sale, prej­u­dic­ing the State of mil­lions of dol­lars in rev­enue.

Gov­ern­ment de­part­ments col­lect fuel from NOIC duty free while pri­vate firms pay ex­cise duty.

Highly placed po­lice sources told our Harare Bureau yes­ter­day that they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions of fuel theft at NOIC by CMED se­nior of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing a re­cent case where they (po­lice) trailed a fuel tanker to a pri­vate ser­vice sta­tion where it de­liv­ered 35 000 litres.

Fuel col­lec­tion doc­u­ments gleaned by our Harare Bureau, how­ever, showed the com­mod­ity was des­tined for a CMED de­pot in Harare.

The devel­op­ment has re­sulted in the Gov­ern­ment los­ing po­ten­tial rev­enue in the form of ex­cise duty due to the shady deals, which have hap­pened over the past few months.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­veal that thou­sands of litres of both petrol and diesel have been si­phoned from NOIC by the of­fi­cials now un­der po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Im­pec­ca­ble sources said some CMED of­fi­cials had been hir­ing pri­vate trans­porters to col­lect fuel at NOIC’s Msasa De­pot claim­ing it was meant for Gov­ern­ment use, but di­verted it for re­sale else­where.

“Pri­vate fuel com­pa­nies are sup­posed to pay ex­cise duty when pur­chas­ing fuel from NOIC. That in­tended for Gov­ern­ment busi­ness is duty free,” a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions said.

Our Harare Bu­raue is in pos­ses­sion of re­cent doc­u­ments that a se­nior CMED of­fi­cial used to col­lect about 35 000 litres of diesel from NOIC be­fore it was di­verted to a pri­vate ser­vice sta­tion (name with­held) the same day.

On one of the doc­u­ments the CMED is iden­ti­fied as the cus­tomer and a lo­cal trans­porter (name sup­plied) was en­gaged to ferry the loot.

There are also two reg­is­tra­tion num­bers for both the horse and tanker in­di­cated on the same re­ceipt.

The doc­u­ments in­di­cate that 35 000 litres of diesel were col­lected from the NOIC de­pot with the name of the truck driver and his sig­na­ture ac­knowl­edg­ing that fuel had been col­lected.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions said a fol­low-up showed the fuel was di­verted to a pri­vate fuel ser­vice sta­tion in the city.

He said they sus­pected the shenani­gans had been go­ing on for the past six months.

The lat­est de­vel­op­ments come a few months af­ter two di­rec­tors at NOIC fled to South Africa to es­cape in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The duo is be­lieved to have taken flight as al­le­ga­tions of ob­struct­ing the course of jus­tice sur­faced in a case where they re­port­edly con­nived with CMED (Pvt) Ltd man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Dav­i­son Mhaka, to cook up pa­pers show­ing how $2,7 mil­lion in a botched fuel deal was spent.

They have since been placed on the In­ter­na­tional Po­lice Or­gan­i­sa­tion (In­ter­pol) red no­tice as wanted per­sons.

Last month, po­lice said they were work­ing with In­ter­pol in try­ing to lo­cate the two First Oil Com­pany (Pri­vate) Limited di­rec­tors, Alex Ku­dak­washe Mahuni and Lynon Gil­bert Katunga.

The two are be­lieved to have man­u­fac­tured fake doc­u­ments to­gether with Mhaka through an IT ex­pert in South Africa to con­ceal the case.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, Mahuni and Katunga fled to the neigh­bour­ing coun­try to evade ar­rest.

CMED man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Dav­i­son Mhaka

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