BY VENERANDA LANGA
A FORENSIC audit on Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has unearthed serious irregularities, where a haulage company owned by Shepherd Tundiya diverted about 1 003 tonnes of coal meant for the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to personal business.
According to the audit by Reynolds Tendai Muza, the coal diverted by Tundiya’s haulage company, Avim Investments, was worth US$17 000.
Muza, an auditor with Ralph Bomment Greenacre and Reynolds, in his recently released report, said the matter came to light in March 2017 and was discussed by the HCCL board, which just glossed over the issue.
Tundiya is currently embroiled in the HCCL saga after he impersonated operatives from the Office of the President and Cabinet, claiming he had been sent by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to sort out the mess at the coal mine.
Avim Investments owed HCCL US$481 225,20 as at September 30, 2018.
“A board meeting of March 24, 2017 was informed about a key haulage services supplier having diverted HCCL coal to personal business,” Muza said in the report.
“At the next board meeting of June 2017, the board was steered in a manner equivalent to ‘casting the eyes the other way’ or ‘turning the eyes on the other way’ in a matter involving criminal diversion of coal destined to a customer, ZPC, generally known as Munyati Power Station in Kwekwe.”
He said it was wrong for the HCCL board to take the matter lightly.
According to the report, Avim loaded trucks with coal, and the truck drivers signed at the security checkpoints and proceeded to pass through the Hwange and Umguza tollgates.
“A person who appeared at Parliament as an official of Avim Investments (Tundiya) denied claims that the Avim trucks picked the coal and diverted it,” the audit report said.
After the theft of the coal, the acting HCCL managing director Charles Zinyemba was said to have formally suspended all business with Avim Investments.
“The contract was for the coal loading and hauling of coal peas from Hwange to (ZPC) Munyati Power Station in Kwekwe.
“Tundiya signed the contract on October 6, 2014, and on November 7, using truck number ACZ 5924, Avim Investments was contracted to ferry 29,80 tonnes of coal peas. On November 13, 2014, using truck number ACZ 5924, Avim Investments was contracted to ferry 30,16 tonnes of coal to ZPC Munyati in Kwekwe.
“In these two trips, there is no evidence that ZPC at Munyati Power Station received the coal. Avim Investments had embarked on a mission to divert coal entrusted with it to own use, thereby causing financial loss to the mine.”
The report added: “An amount of 1 003,48 tonnes was lost to Avim Investments through this scheme of picking coal on the understanding that the loads of coal were being delivered to HCCL’s customer, ZPC Munyati in Kwekwe. It took a while for HCCL to discover that coal was being diverted, and an exercise was carried out, which confirmed the diverting of coal to own stock by the trucking company.”
Muza said the matter was reported to the board on March 24, 2017 during the era of Mines minister Winston Chitando’s tenure as board chair.
Apart from the stolen coal, the forensic audit said Avim had been paid US$45 000 by an HCCL customer, Afrochine.
The money was for HCCL. Avim had also been overpaid US$21 000 for transport.