ZIMBABW – The net is closing in on high-ranking officials involved in the siphoning of $3 million from CMED (Pvt) Ltd through a botched fuel deal with reports indicating that Transport and Infrastructural Development officials benefited from the massive scam.
The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Dr Joram Gumbo, yesterday said Government was now “fully aware” of what transpired and all the officials faced imminent arrest.
Although Minister Gumbo did not mention names, suspended Zanu-PF legislator for Shamva North Cde Nicholas Goche and Macro-economic Planning and Investment Minister Obert Mpofu once superintended over the transport ministry.
Minister Gumbo said the reinstatement of suspended CMED managing director Mr Davison Mhaka was meant to assist in the investigations since he had been cleared of theft charges by a tribunal, led by retired judge Justice Simbi Mubako.
The CMED board, led by Mr Godwills Masimirembwa, refused to reinstate Mr Mhaka, leading to the his sacking on Friday last week.
“Ministry officials played a role in the whole saga,” Minister Gumbo told The Herald.
“We are now aware of the movements of that money to wherever it ended. Investigations indicate that the money was transferred from Zimbabwe to Hong Kong and it ended up in South Africa where it was withdrawn. We don’t want to pre-empt everything and the information that I have I am not going to give it out until the appropriate time.”
He went on: “I want the board to get the co-operation of Mhaka who initially was a witness for CMED, but later was turned into an accused person. Instead of co-operating with the board he ended up defending himself but now that he has been cleared, I am giving him an opportunity to work with the board, which found this case in place. They do not have full background information about this case. I want him back and work with the board to tell us where the money is.”
Mr Mhaka was suspended last year pending investigations.
Minister Gumbo said the country could not lose the money and fuel at the same time.
“My concern is that he is cleared and the money has not been discovered,” he said. “It means that somebody took the money and it is this somebody I want discovered. Who is this somebody? I want that person to be brought before the courts so that Zimbabwe and CMED can get their money.”
Minister Gumbo said he had no issues with Mr Masimirembwa whom he fired last week.
“I do not mean any bad,” he said. “I only had an issue with Masimirembwa because I told him to now use Mhaka as witness since he had been cleared. He did not comply with the directive and ignored the fact that a chief executive or managing director is employed with the approval of the minister and the President. Whenever he is going to be fired the same process should be respected which means when I talk about Mhaka’s issue I have already cleared and have been given the green light.”
The botched fuel deal saw CMED paying $3 million for three million litres of diesel through an offshore account to a contracted from, First Oil.
The fuel, bought on the strength of two letters from State petroleum marketer and distributor Petrotrade, has not been delivered to date.
Questions have been raised as to why the money was paid via an offshore account and not through the supplier.