via US$3m scandal rocks CMED | The Herald May 19, 2014 by Peter Matambanadzo and Zvamaida Murwira
A CMED (Pvt) Limited manager implicated in a US$3 million fuel scandal has been sent on forced leave to as the matter is investigated. At the same time, a former CMED loss control manager who says he tried to blow the lid on the scam, and who last week testified in Parliament on the matter, was allegedly assaulted at his workplace by a man who threatened him against making any more revelations.
Company secretary Mr Oliver Chirongoma yesterday confirmed that fuels manager Mr Brian Manjengwa was sent on forced leave on full benefits four months ago.
“After the failure by First Oil to deliver the three million litres of diesel procured by CMED, the company sent the fuels manager on forced leave in order to facilitate internal investigations relating to the non delivery of the fuel,” Mr Chirongoma said.
“Being on forced leave and not a suspension, the manager is entitled to enjoy his full benefits,” he said.
A source said Mr Manjengwa was getting US$3 641,18 salary, 200 litres of fuel a month “and other benefits including payment of US$1 600 school fees for his two children”.
The source questioned why investigations were incomplete four months down the line. Development Minister Dr Obert Mpofu said he was not in a position to comment.
“I have been out of the country and I am out of Harare. You can contact me on Monday,” Dr Mpofu said.
Last week, former CMED loss control manager Mr Kapini Chigogo told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development that managing director Mr Davison Mhaka unilaterally picked First Oil to supply fuel without going through the State Procurement Board.
Mr Chigogo said First Oil’s import licence had expired three months before its engagement and no prior information was gathered about its credibility as required by law.
The Herald is reliably informed that Mr Chigogo – who says he was demoted to a workshop because of his opposition to the deal – received a death threat over the evidence he gave the parliamentary committee.
Sources at CMED stores in Workington said Mr Chigogo was approached by a man only identified as Kaduku who threatened him for providing Parliament with “misleading” information.
“There was an altercation after Kaduku approached Chigogo and slapped him. He threatened to further assault him,” a source said.
Mr Chigogo is understood to have reported the matter at Milton Park Police Station under case number RRB2050186.
Police could not comment at the time of writing.
Last week Parliament adopted a motion to issue a certificate of immunity for three Chitungwiza Town employees expelled from the municipality for giving evidence to the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Labour on corruption involving 18 managers who withdrew US$235 000 per month from a secret council account.
The adoption of the motion on Tuesday was in line with the Priviledges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, which criminalises victimisation of anyone who gives evidence to the legislature.
The motion was moved by Chegutu West MP Cde Dexter Nduna (Zanu-PF) and got the backing of all legislators, who said Ephraim Katsina, Temson Bamusi and Ngonidzashe Marau should be reinstated after they were ostensibly fired becuase of their evidence.
Legislators said Chitungwiza municipality’s decision to fire the workers had the effect of muzzling Parliament and violated the Constitution.
“We would never have known that while service delivery is deteriorating and staggering along like a drunkard in the sand, while basic services such as water and garbage collection have become a rarity for the people of Chitungwiza like a solar eclipse, directors are rewarding their inefficiencies with handsome and sometimes fraudulent payments,” said Cde Nduna.
“Mr Speaker Sir, I pose the question, how can we stand aside and let employees suffer a double tragedy of, first, labour without pay, and, secondly, being unjustly suspended for blowing the whistle on graft when the directors and managers of a local authority abuse their offices and privileged positions for undue enrichment, amassing of wealth and derivation of undue gains and benefits at the expense of the suffering employees?”
Cde Nduna said remaining silent would deter would-be witnesses from giving evidence to Parliament and would empower the corrupt to hide behind the shield of their ability to victimise whistleblowers.
Other legislators said Parliament should summon and reprimand the Chitungwiza management.