Wednesday, 4 March 2020

ZACC PROBES FUEL HOARDING


The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) will investigate reports of fuel hoarding by oil companies that allegedly received, in the past week, 20 million litres of diesel and almost 9 million litres of petrol, but reportedly withheld much of the fuel in the hope of forcing authorities to increase their permitted mark-ups.

Sources said the oil firms withheld fuel received between February 24 and March 1 because they wanted higher mark-ups in the formulas used by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) to set the retail prices.

Speculation that the companies hoped for licences for forex service stations is less likely since such stations have to procure fuel outside the general allocation system using their own free funds with steps being taken to ensure ordinary allocations were not sold in forex service stations. 

The withholding of supplies worsened shortages. Documents seen last night showed that for diesel, Redan got almost 2,4 million litres, Billheights (Trek) 857 503 litres, Engen 1,8 million litres, Zuva 272 498 litres, Total 2,2 million litres, Petrotrade 1,1 million litres, and Pickglow (Glow) 886 646 litres.

For petrol, Redan got 1,6 million litres, Trek 34 526 litres; Engen 29 038 litres, Zuva 531 288 litres, Total 2,5 million litres, Petrotrade 546 291 litres and Glow 605 001 litres.

Much of this fuel was reportedly not sold. The National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC), which distributes fuel in the general system to oil companies, confirmed allocating fuel to the oil companies.

NOIC board chairman Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube said: “Yes,

they were getting fuel. I can confirm that they were withholding fuel and they were claiming that the price from Zera (the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority) was sub-economic for them.

“They were just giving a number of reasons. But going forward, we will be putting in place a tracking system that shows us where a truck leaving NOIC delivers the fuel.”

Asked what evidence they had to demonstrate that oil companies withheld the fuel, Eng Mackenzie Ncube said the endless queues and complaints from consumers were enough evidence.

Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo confirmed receiving reports of hoarding by oil companies and said: “Zacc is launching investigations into the matter.” 

Asked when the investigations will start, Justice Matanda-Moyo said no date had been allocated since she got the case last night.

Head of the Special Anti-Corruption Unit Mr Thabani Mpofu said they also got information pertaining to the possible hoarding in the fuel sector.

“The allegations of fuel hoarding and the illicit trading of fuel have been brought to our attention,” he said. “We have referred these to the State institutions that are charged with corruption investigations. You may want to get a comment from those.”

It is understood that yesterday there was a meeting between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Zera and the oil marketers to try and find a solution to the challenges.

Last night, Zera announced that fuel prices are going up from today, with diesel retailing at a maximum of $18,66 and petrol $18,70.

Zera’s maximum retail prices are based on the actual landed price of the fuel in US dollars, the interbank exchange rate at the time of the import, and the handling charges, taxes and mark-ups based on the landed Zimbabwe dollar price. Herald

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