The Herald (Harare)

2 July 2014

Zimbabwe: First Oil Dormant Prior to Winning Tender

First Oil Company, which received US$3 million from CMED (Pvt) Ltd, but failed to deliver the three million litres of diesel had been dormant for nearly 10 years, only becoming active when it was closer to clinching the fuel deal.

Documents at hand show that the company was registered in 2003.

The proprietors obtained a tax clearance certificate from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority on May 2, 2012, indicating that it was inactive, barely nine months before it won the tender to supply the three million litres of diesel to CMED.

One of First Oil's directors is listed as Mr Alex Mahuni, who is a former public prosecutor, while the other director is Mr Maxwell Katunga, who is also the chairman of Progressive Group of Companies.

"Mr Katunga is the chairman of Progressive Group of companies, he played a pivotal role in conceiving and revitalising the Funeral Assurance concept in Zimbabwe," reads part of the company profile.

Progressive Group of Companies also owns First Funeral Services, Professional Wood Suppliers and Pachatu Mining Ventures.

Mr Gavin Katunga, who is a director with First Funeral Assurance and shareholder of Progressive Group, is also a senior director at First Oil.

The company's senior management team comprises of Ms Maria Muzenda, who has experience in finance and administration and Mr Alloys Nyamadzawo, who has been in the petroleum industry for the past eight years.

CMED has since written to the Attorney General's Office asking for speedy prosecution of those involved in the botched US$3 million deal in which the parastatal paid First Oil, but the fuel was never delivered.

First Oil, with the involvement of Petrotrade and National Oil Infrastructure Company failed to supply the fuel paid for in March last year.

The fuel was supposed to be delivered within 72 hours, but a year has now lapsed.

CMED said in the letter to the AG's office that Noic chief executive officer Mr Wilfred Matukeni and his counterpart at Petrotrade Mr Tanaka Sikwila should be prosecuted for their part in the botched deal.

The parastatal also said Mr Mahuni, who represented First Oil Company in the deal, should face the same fate.

Mr Matukeni and Mr Sikwila are being accused of misrepresenting to the parastatal that they were storing three million litres of diesel on behalf of First Oil at Msasa depot when they knew they did not have the commodity.

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