Peter Matambanadzo Senior Reporter—
Confusion surrounds the trial of the three First Oil directors facing charges of defrauding CMED (Pvt) Ltd of $3 million in a botched fuel deal after the Prosecutor General’s office yesterday said it cannot proceed to trial because it is yet to discuss new evidence with the complainant. The PG’s office had set the trial date for the three directors — Alex Mahuni, Maxwell Katunga and Alloys Nyamadzawo for today (August 21) at the Harare Magistrates Court.
The three are all out of custody.
However, the CMED, which is the complainant said it has submitted all the documents to the PG’s office for prosecution.
CMED board chairman Mr Godwills Masimirembwa, said the matter was in the hands of the Prosecutor General.
“We have submitted all documents we think are relevant and which in our view implicate the CMED managing director (Mr Davision Mhaka), a Mr Matukeni, a Mr Sikwila of Petrotrade and all directors of First Oil and we submitted our letter of complaint signed by Mr (Kipinai) Chigogo (CMED loss control manager). The decision rests on the Prosecutor General,” Mr Masimirembwa said.
He was referring to the National Oil Infrastructure Company chief executive officer Mr Wilfred Matukeni and his counterpart at Petrotrade, Mr Tanaka Sikwila who are accused of misrepresenting to the parastatal that they were storing three million litres of diesel on behalf of First Oil at Msasa depot when they knew they did not have the commodity.
Chief Law Officer Mr Chris Mutangadura, said the trial had been stopped after new evidence emerged.
“The trial was scheduled for August 21, 2014, but because of the changed circumstances, we will not be able to proceed tomorrow (today). We are yet to meet the complainant and we will then proceed,” Mr Mutangadura said.
Meanwhile, the CMED has set August 27 as the hearing date for suspended fuel’s manager Mr Brian Manjengwa, who is yet to be arrested, but is also implicated in the alleged fuel scam.
According to a notice of disciplinary hearing in The Herald’s possession, Mr Manjengwa is facing charges of contravening Section 18.3 Subsection 2 of the CMED Code of Conduct after he dismally failed to carry out due diligence that First Oil had the fuel in Zimbabwe.
Mr Manjengwa is accused of “gross unsatisfactory work performance and incompetence,” and disobeying lawful instruction from his employer that resolved to purchase bulk fuel from a company with fuel in Zimbabwe. He is also charged with theft after allegedly jointly authorised the release of $2,7 million after conducting a fraudulent and fake due diligence prejudicing CMED.
CMED has also suspended Mr Mhaka after he was also implicated in the fuel scandal.