The Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED) was allegedly conned of over $2,7 million after a company that was awarded a tender to supply the government entity with fuel failed to deliver.
CMED managing director Davison Mhaka yesterday said his company was facing viability challenges particularly in the supply of fuel after First Oil failed to supply three million litres of fuel.
He said the problems at CMED were being compounded by the fact that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had not paid $4,5 million for the hire of vehicles during the referendum on the new Constitution last year.
The government also owes the company over $1 million for car rental, fuel and other services, Mhaka added. The CMED boss made the shocking revelations when he appeared before the Parliament’s Portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chaired by Epworth MP Amos Midzi (Zanu PF).
“The company’s fuel department is facing problems of fuel availability in its service stations around the country,” Mhaka said.
“On March 5 in 2013, we procured three million litres of fuel from First Oil.
“The company failed to supply it. We reported the matter to the police and up to today, the company has been promising to deliver the fuel. Another challenge is non-payment of fuel and services by the government. We ended up recalling the coupons we gave to our clients. Right now, the government owes us $577 000 for fuel which ministries are struggling to liquidate.”
Mhaka said the transport hire department was hamstrung by the government’s failure to pay for services rendered.
“The government still owes us $745 000 for services provided in 2013. ZEC still owes us $4,5 million for vehicle hire during last year’s referendum,” he said.
“The worrying thing is that, we subcontracted people. We still owe members of the public money for the vehicles that we hired for ZEC.”
CMED still owes members of the public over $1 million for car hire. But MPs accused CMED of being complicit in the $2,7 million fuel scam. Warren Park MP Elias Mudzuri (MDC-T) accused CMED of incompetence by failing to secure its money in the fuel deal, while Glen Norah MP Webster Maondera (MDC-T) said he suspected CMED was complicit in the fraud. “How did you secure your money? You trusted people, that is why we are in a mess as a country and corruption is smelling everywhere,” Mudzuri said.
Mhaka said his company followed proper procurement channels and was made to believe it would get the fuel after checking with government departments that assured him First Oil had enough fuel.
Midzi and Chegutu West Dexter Nduna accused the CMED management of arrogance.