Fuel scam: Zimra launches probe

via Fuel scam: Zimra launches probe | The Herald January 1, 2015

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has launched investigations into a case in which a local firm reportedly imported 37 million litres of fuel worth millions of dollars for resale on the pretext that it was meant for the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.Glow Petroleum, which distributed the fuel to its service stations countrywide, is believed to have defrauded the Government of more than $13 million over the past six months by evading customs duty and other charges.

Company director Mr Aaron Chinhara and one of his managers who has not been named, were last week picked up for questioning while some senior Government officials, prominent politicians and businesspeople have been implicated in the scam.

Sources close to the investigations yesterday said zimra was in the process of gathering the evidence and compiling documents to ascertain how much money government lost through the scam.

This comes after they were requested by senior police officers to look into the issues and assist with the investigations.

Efforts to get comment from zimra Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi, were fruitless yesterday.

Zimra chief corporate communications officer Mr Taungana Ndoro said he would be able to comment on the matter tomorrow morning when they are back in the office following the New Year holiday.

However, The Herald is in possession of some of the documents bearing the dates and the fuel quantities withdrawn by the company at Feruka and Msasa Depots.

According to the documents, various quantities of fuel of up to 30 000 litres were withdrawn from the depots between June 16 and December 15 last year.

Sources close to the investigations said yesterday they were yet to visit Feruka Depot as investigations on the case intensify.

The politicians and businesspeople (names supplied) were working with Chinhara, one of the MDC-T rebels who contested the Redcliff seat during the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections as an independent candidate.

Chinhara and some of his managers are still assisting police with investigations.

Although finer details of the investigations were not available as of last night, The Herald understands that the net was closing on some senior Government ministers and other officials in the chain.

Police last week received a tip-off and raided some of the company’s premises in and around the capital. One of the company drivers was allegedly forced to abandon his tanker at a service station in Southerton after he was cornered by detectives.

The driver wanted to offload the fuel when detectives received a tip-off about the consignment.

Several trucks have since been impounded by police after being abandoned by drivers as investigations continue.

The fuel scam came to light following a price war in Gwanda that saw Glow Petroleum selling its fuel at significantly lower prices compared to other service stations.