Govt accused of fuelling black market

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Joram Gumbo

PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that some private companies contracted by the government to undertake multi-million-dollar projects were importing duty-free fuel and reselling it on the black market.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Joram Gumbo
Joram Gumbo

The MPs raised the issue when CMED managing director, Davison Mhaka, and his board chair, Sheunesu Mupepereki, appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, where they accused the government of failing to monitor fuel usage by companies carrying out national projects.

Committee chairperson, Daniel Shumba, told Mhaka that the private companies were taking advantage of the duty-free fuel import certificates issued by CMED to import cheap fuel and feed it into the parallel market.

“We don’t know how much the State has been prejudiced by these private companies. In any case, there is no law that governs such actions like the issuance of duty-free import certificates to private companies. The statutory instrument here states that the issuance of duty-free importation of fuel shall be enjoyed by government agencies and departments,” Shumba said.

Mhaka named Sakunda Holdings, which is undertaking the Dema Energy plant project, Africa Chrome Fields in Midlands and Bell Petroleum, as some of the firms that were given duty-free certificates to import fuel by CMED.

He told Parliament that all the companies given duty-free fuel import certificates had accounted for their imports, but admitted that the system was prone to abuse.

According to Shumba, directors at Bell Petroleum — a company that is allegedly importing fuel on behalf of the Ministry of Defence — were once arrested for diverting part of the commodity into the informal market, prejudicing government of millions of dollars of revenue.

“We have to agree that between the importation and the actual consumer they are possible leakages,” Shumba said, to which Mhaka responded affirmtively.

This came as Transport minister Joram Gumbo disclosed that the Austrian firm, Geiger International, which won the tender for the dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway would reserve a 40% stake for local companies.

7 COMMENTS

  1. 40% for local entrepreneurs. If they really can do the job, they should have been given the whole deal. Otherwise the arrangement just balloons the cost of the beitbridge chirundu road for no good reason as those to get the local cut are people with good political connections with good money already.

  2. Dear Editor, please do a bit of investigation on the Beitbridge/Chirundu project. A little bird tells me that the project was inflated by close to half a billion dollars. Secondly, Group 5 had a lower bid plus expiriance from the Plumtree/Mutare highway project and also that they had ready funding yet they lost to Geiger Consotium. The little bird further tells me that one of the partners in this Geiger/China Harbour is actually blacklisted by International finance houses. So that explains why this project once slated for early 2016 is still dead in the water. These are hints, if your are juornos worth your salt you’ll want to sniff around.

  3. The mutare harare wgeru byo plumtree highway is sai todhav ecost about $200 mln. It is less than 850 kilometres long. The Beitbridge Masvingo harare chirundu road is about 950 kilometres and costs $2.7 billion to dualise. If the mutare harare gweru byo plumtree highway had been dualised, that would have chewed about $400-500 mln. Comparing the money figures and kilometres, the beitbridge chiruhndu road should not cost more than one billion dollars. Remember zimplats constructed a 77 kilometre road for $19 mln while government constructed the 20 kilometre Airport road for $95 million and the Airport road took years to complete. Put the monetary figures and mileage into perspective and, then you easily realise that we need a more accountable system.

  4. kkkkk, maZimbabwe svinurai . There is nothing like that the so called big fish in the party have a lion’s share. They talk of a firm masquerading as Austrian knowingly that very few people comprehend Austria, that’s the ruling predators’ stealth way of duping us.
    Therefore l urge other law makers with people at their hearts to summon Austrian consulate based in Zimbabwe to testify and espouse the claims, otherwise there is no such thing as Geiger in their country. Hokoyoooo….

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