Fuel deal sucks Mangoma, Biti

Tendai Biti

Mine Oil and Gas Services, which of late has been making futile attempts to build a second pipeline in Zimbabwe was a project meant to bankroll the opposition, official documents have revealed.

The company first came into the country at the behest of former Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma, who was MDC deputy treasurer general at that time.

According to a source privy to the deal, the sinister motive was thwarted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was then Justice Minister when it was presented in Cabinet at that time.

After hitting the brickwall and after the MDC lost the 2013 election, MOGS approached several Zanu Pf bigwigs chief among them former presidential advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa in a bid to save the deal. Oil and Gas Services (MOGS) sought to acquire 50 percent stake of the feruka pipeline from LonMin in 2012 was meant to bankroll the activities of the opposition movement for democratic change.

“At that time the proposal came under Royal Bafokeng who were said to have a lot of money which they were willing to invest in the country. Elton Mangoma was the minister of energy and power development then and also the treasurer of Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) and this was dubbed the first major project they would implement when ‘they win 2013 election.’ The Royal Bafokeng Project involved Elton Mangoma, Tendai Biti , Eddie Cross and William Nyemba (formerly of Trust Bank) and it had been agreed that this was going to be the project that would finance MDC into the future,” said sources.

According to sources, the deal meant government would write a letter waiving it’s First Right of Refusal to buy 50% PZL pipeline from LONMIN .

“Mangoma wrote the letter on behalf of Government, without seeking Cabinet Approval. Royal Bafokeng would then buy the 50% from LONMIN. Royal Bafokeng would then be given a management contract to run the line and take away all the work that NOIC currently does including management of the strategic stock. The new shareholders would also build a second pipeline which they would also manage, and this would remove control from Government to Royal Bafokeng,” said the source.

The contract would be for 25 years.

Another source heavily involved in the fuel deal during the government of national unity said fissures emerged in the opposition on the percentage the party would hold.

“The chief architect of the noise Tendai Biti who argued Mangoma should not be party to this transaction going forward as he was not really MDC. It was known in MDC circles that Mangoma was going to be dumped after the ‘victorious 2013 elections.’ Biti was known to be a vulture and hyena who would eat you with your bones as he did with Zinara where after signing a Group Five Plumtree-Mutare Road rehabilitation project, he crossed party lines and shared the loot of US$10 million with Nicholas Goche.

Sources say Biti hatched a plan with Eddie Cross where they roped in the late MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Tsvangirai then invited the King of Royal Bafokeng to Zimbabwe and hosted a dinner in Zimbabwe a few weeks before the election. This dinner was to launch the new friendship and partnership between Royal Bafokeng and MDC and how they were going to finance their activities from the loot. Mangoma was not invited to meetings and angered by their behavior Mangoma started throwing spanners until Biti and Mangoma patched their differences.

“Agreements were hurriedly drafted and pushed through the NOIC – MDC run board at that time. Two days before the elections, Secretary of Energy and power development then Justin Mupamhanga who was being sidelined by Mangoma instructed the then Chief executive officer of NOIC not to sign until after the elections. The election came and MDC lost,” said the source.

Even after elections Biti and Nyemba tried to get this deal done in no avail despite opting to sideline the use of Royal Bafokeng because it was political and therefore the deal would not go through.

“It was at this point that they agreed the use their real name Mining Oil and Gas Services (MOGS). While the discussions were still on going, MOGS roped in former President of Mozambique Chisano suggesting that an agreement to build the pipeline on the Mozambican side had been reached and what was let was for Zimbabwe to agree (trying to pressure on Zimbabwe). But amidst these discussions, Public Investment Corporation(PIC) approached the army asking why the Government was not seeking direct funding from them. Why were they coming through a third party (MOGS),” said another source.

It is also believe that the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa played a key in pushing out the Mogs deal.

“Unknown to anyone the then Minister of Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa was doing his own investigations which revealed that this was really a Biti, Mangoma and Cross transaction and that he was unhappy for the pipeline to managed outside Zimbabwe. He was equipped with information from the army, so he approached the former President the late Robert Mugabe with his findings and in the following cabinet meeting the deal was thrown out. As he usually does, Mnangagwa found the root cause of this problem and the entire NOIC board was fired. This was in 2015 April,” sources said.

After the restore legacy in 2017, Cross and Mutsvangwa came back with the Mogs deal assuming that the late former president who pushed their deal out.

“In 2017, Christopher Mutsvangwa became the advisor to the President, the first deal that Mutsangwa was given was to revive the famous MOGS pipeline deal. Mutsvangwa then took the deal to President for approval. The president then told Mutsvangwa to do all necessary investigations,” sources say.

Sources said Mutsvangwa went to the war veterans and asked them to support the deal because they would get 10% free carry as war veterans. But Mutsvangwa did not mention the USD2.5 million and everyone started to see MOGS in good light.

“Mutsvangwa then went to enlist Tinmac to recruit Tagwirei to be on his side so that Tagwirei would control the fuel while Mustvangwa controlled the pipeline. Mutsvangwa also promised to make sure that Tagwirei would get a share in the pipeline and Tagwirei turned down the offer. That is when Tagwirei became an enemy to Mutsvangwa, who used his office to attack Tagwirei,” sources added.

The president agreed that the MOGs deal can go ahead on the following conditions that MOGS would build its own separate pipeline as government and MOGs will hold equal shareholding.

“MOGS will not participate at all in the current pipeline that NOIC will get the management contract for both pipelines,” said the source.