Farayi Machamire 21 February 2017
HARARE – State-owned Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) has
suspended the importation of duty-free fuel for selected private companies
following an expose of irregularities in the facilitation of import
This comes as the Transport ministry had given CMED the right to grant
duty exemptions to selected private companies, a reprieve usually availed
exclusively to government departments under Statutory Instrument 184 of
This comes as the parastatal is facing a protracted battle to recover $3,8
million in a botched fuel deal.
“We facilitate importation of fuel for companies as per instruction of
ministry,” CMED managing director Davison Mhaka told Parliament’s Mines
and Energy portfolio committee yesterday.
” . . . these companies are carrying out projects that have been given
national project status, so they approach government and the government
facilitates the issuance of duty-free certificates,” he said.
Mhaka said in 2016, CMED facilitated the importation of over a million
litres of duty-free diesel for ACF at a commission of $0,03 per litre.
It also emerged that the Defence ministry had granted authority to private
players, Bell Petroluem, to import its fuel duty-free, which legislators
felt raised the spectre of fuel being sold on the black market.
The committee’s chairperson, Daniel Shumba, was miffed at the
inconsistencies and lack of due process.
Mhaka acknowledged that CMED was acting outside the bounds of its
authority and that facilitating duty-free fuel to private companies was
He said he had assumed a letter from the Transport ministry was sufficient
“With immediate effect, we are not going to process all the paperwork
until what has been discussed here is communicated to the ministries
concerned and there is a legal instrument allowing us to do so,” Mhaka
Shumba said he found it odd that Mhaka had been reappointed as CMED
managing director on January 3, and 17 days later, signed the edict from
the Defence ministry to source its fuel through Bell Petroleum.
In April last year, Mhaka was dragged to the courts over his alleged
involvement in a fuel scandal which prejudiced the State-owned company of