HARARE – The Zimbabwe Government on Tuesday gave the Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) board 45 days to report on progress made on recovering $2.7 million lost in a botched fuel deal about four years ago.
CMED was prejudiced of $2, 7 million when a private company, First Oil, failed to supply three million litres of fuel to the state entity despite receiving payment. Gumbo told a press conference that the issue should be brought to finality.
“There is still an outstanding issue which the previous board did not finalise and this relates to the First Oil Fuel saga in which the organisation was prejudiced of a considerable amount of money,” he said.
“I expect this board to give me its first report on the matter in the next 45 days as it appears the matter is dying a natural death.”
Gumbo said CMED should also aggressively pursue debtors, to recover at least $22 million it is owed by government Ministries and departments for services rendered.
He said if recovered, the money could be used to significantly improve the company’s operations, such as expanding its fuel retail business, adding most CMED service stations were in need of refurbishment and were located in industrial areas.
“You should realise that you are now a commercial entity and this should be reflected by the outlook of your depots,” he said.
“The Ministry would like to see CMED expand the service station network by developing new sites that are strategically located in the CBD or along highways.”
Gumbo urged the department to prepare for business opportunities that may arise in infrastructural development projects such as road construction.
“I am happy to report that recently I was invited to witness the delivery of a road reclaimer and associated equipment by you organization. This equipment must now be put to good use in order to generate the much needed revenue for the organisation,” he said.
CMED is mandated to procure vehicles on behalf of the government, supply fuel, train and certify government drivers. It is also responsible for administering the transport purchase fund on behalf of the Public Service Commission and Treasury. – New Ziana