Mangoma says fuel shortage was due to fraud at NOCZIM

Zimbabwe’s recent fuel shortage was due to fraud at the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said today.  He said NOCZIM had stolen $35m of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) funds between February 2009 and February 2010.  It had also not bought any strategic reserves since February 2009.

A forensic audit by Ernest and Young had uncovered that NOCZIM management:

  • had committed fraud.
  • had taken third party stocks.
  • misrepresented facts regarding the amounts due to ZIMRA.
  • had failed to account for the stocks properly between its own and third party stocks.
  • had failed to account for the Strategic Reserve and Debt Redemption levies.
  • had failed to account for the Strategic Reserve stocks.

In addition the management had failed to produce audited financial statements for 2009.

Although the government had come up with a solution, fuel supplies had been delayed because of bureaucracy. The transfer of funds for fuel had for example taken six days. When the first train came with fuel from South Africa it spent over 10 days at Beitbridge before being cleared.

“This was clearly the work of a bureaucracy determined to create a story,” Mangoma said.  “The fuel was only offloaded last week after the intervention of the Minister of Finance.”

Mangoma said the government had restructured NOCZIM into two companies which started operating on 1 January 2011. The two companies had employed 273 workers from the old company leaving 106 employees without jobs. Their retrenchment package was being worked out and should be concluded before the end of this month.

On electricity, Mangoma said the country was currently generating between 1300 and 1400MW against the national requirement of 2000MW.  But there was anomaly in that though the country had to import between 100MW to 300MW it was exporting 150MW to Namibia at a subsidised rate.

He also said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority would soon introduce smart meters to deal with billing problems that were bedevilling ZESA.

Several power projects which would see the country becoming more than self-sufficient in electricity were also in the pipeline.

Here is the Minister’s full statement.

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