POLICE have claimed that they recently foiled a 10 million-litre fuel heist from PetroTrade by a deputy director in the District Development Fund (DDF) and his accomplices.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

DDF deputy director, (plant and equipment Mukwati Building) Tonongei Machingura (57) at the weekend appeared at Harare Magistrates’ Court with accomplices Cuthbert Wozhele (49) DDF radio technician, Nichodemus Giniyo (52) Export Agro Services chairperson, dentist Lloyd Tavengwa Katsvamutima (53), commodity broker Kenneth Machisa (49) and Enerst Nyanga (49) managing director of Erlon Energy (Private) Limited.

The six, who were charged with fraud and appeared before magistrate Victoria Mashamba on Saturday, were granted $8 000 bail each.

Allegations are that on July 1, the accused hatched a plan to defraud PetroTrade (Private) Limited and Wozhele contacted PetroTrade business development officer Wedson Mupambi, indicating that he, together with the accomplices representing Glencore Energy UK Limited, had a consignment of fuel from Splitridge that they wanted to sell to PetroTrade.

He set up a meeting with Mupambi.

Mupambi allegedly suspected that Wozhele was trying to defraud PetroTrade, so he informed his superiors and a police report was made.

The State alleges that on July 2, detectives posed as PetroTrade employees interested in buying the fuel from the accused. The detectives, together with Mupambi, met with the six accused persons at Trident Building in Harare.
It is alleged the accused produced a release order reference number Msasa 22/6/2020 -6 purporting to be from Glencore Energy UK Limited instructing National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) to release 10 million litres of Gasoil to Splitridge (Private) Limited.

The State alleges later on the same day, Machisa sent a proforma invoice of US$8,5 million to the complainant through the WhatsApp platform and another meeting was set for July 3.

Investigations were made and NOIC indicated that the release order reference Msasa 22/6/2020-6 was fraudulent as they did not receive such instructions from Glencore Energy UK limited.

On July 3, detectives from the CID Police anti-corruption unit met with the accused at PetroTrade offices and a short meeting was held which led to their arrest.

The State alleges as a result of the accused persons’ actions, the complainant was potentially prejudiced of US$8,5 million.

George Manokore appeared for the State.

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