via First Oil directors face arrest – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 3, 2014
THE net is closing in on First Oil directors implicated in a $3 million botched fuel deal with CMED last year, it has emerged.
NewsDay understands that the Prosecutor-General’s Office (PG) has cleared the way for the arrest of the directors after perusing the docket detailing the charges against the suspects.
Police had prepared the docket before sending it to Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana’s Office for an opinion.
Yesterday, the PG’s Office reportedly concluded that the directors of the oil company had a case to answer hence their arrest was imminent.
The development came amid fresh disclosures that the firm was idle for 10 years before becoming active nine months before the tender was awarded.
“What this means is that First Oil Company directors will now be arrested and be brought before the courts to answer to fraud charges,” a PG official who refused to be named said last night.
“The best person to confirm the instructions is the Prosecutor- General (Tomana).”
Tomana was not reachable for comment by the time of going to print.
CMED last week wrote to the Attorney-General’s Office demanding speedy action on a docket sent by police for perusal with the aim of arresting and prosecuting executives from oil firms that failed to supply fuel after receiving $3 million payment.
In the letter, CMED said that National Oil Infrastructure Company chief executive officer Wilfred Matukeni and his counterpart at Petrotrade Tanaka Sikwila should be prosecuted for their part in the botched deal. The parastatal also said Alex Mahuni, who represented First Oil Company in the deal, should face the same fate.
CMED has been battling since last year to recover money paid to First Oil for fuel which was never delivered.
The company had been awarded a tender to supply three million litres of fuel, shrugging off competition from other suppliers like ComOil, Maps Petroleum and Sakunda Energy.
First Oil had reportedly indicated to CMED that it had enough supplies that were held by National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) and PetroTrade in Msasa in Harare.
PetroTrade is responsible for downstream activities, including the selling of petroleum products and lubricants through bulk sales and service stations. NOIC owns the storage facilities at Msasa Depot.
Documents showed that CMED’s bankers released the money last year after NOIC confirmed that it was holding diesel on behalf of Petrotrade.
CMED board chairman Godwills Masimirembwa recently indicated they had issued summons against First Oil and its directors, NOIC and Petrotrade to recover the money following protracted efforts by the government fleet manager to recover the money without success.
Transport and Infrastructure Development minister Obert Mpofu tasked the new CMED board chaired by Masimirembwa to recover the money.
Recent revelations also showed that the $3 million was paid to a Korean company.