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THE Zanu PF linked fuel supplier Sakunda Energy risks losing out on a fuel deal with Parliament after legislators said they had been warned that poor quality petrol supplied by the company could damage their vehicles.

Sakunda is owned by energy tycoon Kuda Tagwirei who is linked to Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Last week, Glen Norah MP Webster Mawondera quizzed deputy energy minister, Munacho Mutezo, on how government was protecting motorists from substandard fuel which could damage their vehicles.

The legislator cited a local car dealer which supplied MPs with top of the range vehicles but instructed them not to use blended petrol from Sakunda because of the quality of their fuel.

“What is the government’s policy on the quality of fuel in the market as we hear that E10 and E15 (ethanol-blended) is affecting engines of most vehicles?” asked Mawondera.

He added: “And also, recently, members of Parliament who received their vehicles from a car dealer were told not to use Sakunda because it does not have facilities to test the quality and whether if there is any contamination.

“What is government doing to protect both members of the public and the MPs given that we get fuel from Sakunda as Parliament?”

The deputy minister said it was the duty of the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) to monitor the quality of fuel imported into the country and protect citizens from poor quality products.

“Government’s policy is that every litre of fuel that comes into the country should be tested by ZERA and it is that arm of government which needs to be approached by anyone with a specific issue,” he said.

But his response did not go down well with MPs, forcing Mawondera, James Maridadi and Willias Madzimure to demand that the minister directly respond to the question.

“You are not responding to the matter correctly, we are asking what government is doing to protect us as MPs who were told that if we use Sakunda fuel our vehicles would not get warranty from the supplier,” Mawondera said.

“Well, the government policy is very clear, no sub-standard fuel should be allowed on the market, but on the issue that a car dealer is recommending a certain garage and not the other, I think it is a marketing strategy,” Mutezo said amid disagreements from the floor.

Senior Zanu PF and CIO officials have been linked to Sakunda for years with the company long accused of financially supporting the ruling party.

In 2012, Sakunda facilitated an estimated $40 million maize import deal with Zambia after President Michael Sata pledged to help Mugabe’s re-election campaign.

Sakunda is also thought to have secured the deal to supply fuel to MPs without going to tender, a development which some lawmakers believe benefited top Parliament officials.

MPs recently took delivery of new cars which were availed to them through a government-backed loan facility from a local financial house and payable over four years at an interest rate of 18 percent.

The legislators said they were afraid to defy the aice of the supplier as its cost $7,000 to repair a damaged engine.

“All members can testify, we were aised that if we do not get fuel from Engen and Total and continue to use suppliers like Sakunda, for example – because we get our fuel coupons from Sakunda – they (car dealers) will not honour the warranty to replace a pump,” said Mawondera.

“It costs about US$7,000 to replace a pump. So, what is government policy in protecting members of the public and Members of Parliament?”

Source : New Zimbabwe