The Executive by-passed Parliament in giving fuel excise duty exemption to the controversial Dema Diesel Power Plant, a senior legislator has said.
Sakunda, owned by Zanu PF benefactor Kuda Tagwirei, partnered President Robert Mugabe’s in-law Derrick Chikore, brother to Simba, who is married to the president’s daughter Bona, in the dodgy and costly diesel-fired power plant, which has since grounded to a halt on the back of fuel challenges.
Former War Veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa told the Daily News that the $250 million Dema Emergency Power Plant, which he has been described as a money-spinning project by the ruling party’s G40 faction, had allegedly used its political connections to get the fuel duty exemption without Parliament’s consent.
“Dema demanded and got duty-free diesel, robbing (Finance minister Patrick) Chinamasa the 25 cents per kilowatt hour cost of electricity generated at Dema,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Parliament never passed a law that exempts Dema-destined diesel from excise duty, so the subsidy is illegal and (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority) Zimra should move in and reclaim funds.”
Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda declined to comment, referring questions to National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda.
“I have no comment on that one unfortunately, you will have to call the Speaker,” Chokuda told the Daily News.
Mudenda said: “I am not sure in what context Mutsvangwa was saying that and as such I am not able to comment on hearsay. Maybe I need to see the interview you had with him.” There have been allegations that part of the fuel was being sold on the black market, although there is no evidence to corroborate this.
Last month, Transport minister Joram Gumbo defended the granting of duty-free fuel imports for the Dema Electricity Project, Kariba South Extension and Africa Chrome Fields saying the three ceased to be private projects since government is a partner.
He said this to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy.
The plant was meant to supply about 100 Megawatts (MW) per hour into the national grid at $0,15c/MW.
However, the gigantic plant has not been operational for over four months as Sakunda has been struggling to access fuel to power the plant.
Mutsvangwa also claimed that he had vehemently opposed the proposal in Cabinet when he was still War Veterans minister, arguing that the project was not sustainable.
“But the G40 ministers had other primitive money-making ideas. They cunningly avoided third nations as that would have eaten into their diabolically hefty commissions.
“They opted to foist the deal on reluctant Zesa (Zesa Holdings) management,” Mutsvangwa told the Daily News.
“In Cabinet in 2015, I argued in vain that non-Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and landlocked Zimbabwe can never afford electricity generated from diesel. Greed blocked the ears of G40 ministers who awarded themselves this crazy tender.”