7 March 2014

Zimbabwe: Chrome Exports Invoicing Scam Unearthed At MMCZ

GOVERNMENT might have been prejudiced of millions of dollars after the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) failed to invoice close to 500 000 tonnes of ferro-chrome exported via Beira and Maputo.

This was detected by Chiri while auditing MMCZ.

In her report on state enterprises and parastatals for the financial year ended December 2011, Chiri said: "I observed that Manica-Beira was handling ferro-chrome which was produced by Maranatha Ferro-chrome (Pvt) Ltd and according to the information provided, the following mineral exports were not invoiced ... "

She noted that for the month of September 2010, two trucks with numbers 289355 and 269883 each carrying 44 000 tonnes of ferrochrome had no invoice numbers and there was no evidence whether they were invoiced or not.

Chiri also noted that for the month of August 2010, nine trucks with numbers 303613, 297910, 268871 and 293406 each carrying 44 000 tonnes of ferro-chrome exported the mineral without invoicing.

Ferro-chrome is a semi-finished product of smelted chrome, whose international market price is higher than the US$150 per tonne fetched by chrome ore.

Chiri said: "There is a risk that non-invoicing of the mineral exports will understate the corporation's revenue. The corporation might lose revenue through underhand deals by the producers conniving with staff members. All invoices should be timely generated and should account for the sales commission."

According to information on the MMCZ website, government first considered the banning of raw chrome exports around 2007 in an attempt to encourage local value-addition of the mineral since the country was losing much revenue through the unregulated sale of such high-value minerals resources such as chrome and chromite products.

The move was intended to plug leakages, encourage value addition and help miners re-equip through chrome pledges. The ban was temporarily lifted in 2008, but was reinstated as mining firms and individuals started abusing the waiver.

Responding to Chiri's concerns, management at MMCZ said: "Investigations are underway to verify if indeed the material was not invoiced by MMCZ and if so investigate how material was exported without requisite MMCZ documents. Should investigations confirm the mishap, management will regularise and take corrective action."

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