SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda’s son, Donald, has been implicated in a botched 1,7 million-litre diesel tender for the refurbishment of Victoria Falls International Airport being carried out by a Chinese contractor, China Jiangsu International EEC.
According to documents at hand, Donald played a significant role in facilitating the deal two years ago when his father was still chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) which handled the tender.
China Jiangsu International EEC general manager Zhang Xin Bin has since written to Transport minister Obert Mpofu seeking his intervention to have the fuel delivered.
Donald confirmed his involvement in the deal adding that there were some logistical issues that needed to be addressed by the fuel supplier, Struss Logistics.
“I am aware of the deal and I can confirm that basically I facilitated everything between the Chinese and the local suppliers,” Donald said.
He added: “Initially Zuva Petroleum was supplying the fuel before it changed hands to Struss Logistics.”
In the letter dated March 27 2014, Zhang said: “Up to June 7 2013, we paid the former supplier to purchase 1,7 million litres, but they failed to supply the diesel to the Victoria Falls Airport Project properly.
“The balance is 750 000 litres and after a long time of negotiations they still can’t supply the balance.”
He asked the minister to assist them to get a waiver on paying duty to import the fuel for the project.
“Now we turn to your ministry’s help to get the diesel for the project.
“Please assist us to write a supporting letter so that we could purchase diesel from the ministry of Energy at price exemption of custom duty and tax,” he added.
The delays have had an impact on the completion of the project that was meant to be a legacy of the World Tourism Organisation General Assembly held last year.
Projections are that the project will now be concluded by December 2015.
The expansion work funded by China Exim Bank includes upgrading the domestic terminal building, constructing a new four km runway, constructing a new fire station, control tower and installation of state–of–the-art aviation equipment.