Source: Fuel syndicate intercepted | The Herald June 1, 2019
Police on Monday arrested five suspects believed to be part of a fuel siphoning syndicate involving tanker drivers and criminal elements, as the clampdown on illegal activities in the fuel sector begins.
The suspects were arrested in the Nyamakate industrial area of Mutare while draining 250 litres of diesel from a fuel tanker.
Police believe that more people could be involved in the illegal dealings countrywide and they have since intensified surveillance on illegal dealers.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrest yesterday.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police confirms the arrest of five accused persons in Mutare for unlawful dealing in fuel which occurred in Mutare on May 26, at around 2100 hours.
“The five accused persons were arrested in Nyamakate area, Mutare, were they siphoned a total of 10 x 25, litres diesel from a tanker,” he said.
He said police recovered the diesel that was being loaded into a blue Honda Fit (registration number AEB 0818).
“Police investigations revealed that one of the accused persons was the driver of the tanker. The ZRP has intensified its surveillance on illegal dealers and will not hesitate to arrest anyone found engaging in unscrupulous activities,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said fuel attendants and truck drivers were strongly warned to desist from acts of diverting fuel onto the black market.
The arrest comes after the Ministry of Energy and Power Development has dispatched taskforces across the country to monitor the operations of fuel firms especially service stations amid claims that some were hoarding fuel and diverting it to the black market, which has resulted in the country battling to eradicate fuel queues.
There has been concern that while the fuel being procured is enough to meet demand the situation on the ground of long queues for both diesel and petrol does not reflect this.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mandudya on Thursday indicated that he had released letters of credit for the acquisition of 170 million litres against a national requirement of 140 million, which should leave the country with a surplus of 30 million litres.
Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi, who met fuel players in Harare on Thursday together with Dr Mangudya, laid out new measures to curtail leakages in the fuel supply system.
Among the measures will be the renewal of licences half-yearly instead of annually and cancellation of operating licences for those who flout procedure.
Minister Chasi also indicated that he was working on regulations pertaining to penalties that would be imposed on errant fuel firms and that Government was also going to publish fuel allocations to service stations to aid transparency.
Minister Chasi said the measures had been necessitated by complaints he had been receiving from motorists that service stations were deliberately creating artificial shrtages of fuel by selling minimum quantities to motorists and diverting huge quantities to the black market.
Other concerns were the rejection of some payment modes, such as swipe or mobile money, by service stations, some of which were only accepting US dollars.