Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
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 The Herald yesterday they were investigating cases 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 The Herald, however, showed the commodity was destined for a CMED depot in Harare.
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The scam has resulted in 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.
The Herald is in possession of recent documents top CMED officials 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 document indicates 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 frustrate 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 the books to conceal the $2,7 million botched fuel deal.
They have since been placed on the International Police (Interpol) red notice as wanted persons.
Last month, police said they were working with Interpol in their bid to locate the two First Oil Company (Private) Limited directors.
Alex Kudakwashe Mahuni and Lynon Gilbert Katunga 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 and questioning over the case.
Investigations have so far revealed that Mahuni could be staying in Mpumalanga while the whereabouts of Katunga are still unknown.
Last month, their alleged accomplice Mhaka, who is facing charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and violating the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, gave notice that he intended to make an application for refusal of further remand.
He is out on $500 bail.