New Details Emerge On Zimbabwe's Second Fuel Pipeline Project
The NewsHawks has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s associates are behind the new US$1.3 billion megabucks petroleum products pipeline project that will be Zimbabwe’s second fuel pipeline from Beira, Mozambique.
The project whose cost was quickened from US$850 million to US$1.3 billion, and will ultimately surge to US$4 billion, is fronted by South African businessman Errol Gregor.
The project is largely being facilitated by Cross and state-owned National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd (Noic) chairperson Daniel McKenzie Ncube, an engineer who is a long-time Mnangagwa ally.
They say the project, once complete, will service the whole of southern Africa.
The NewsHawks obtained documents that suggest that the project is a 50-50 joint venture between British-registered Coven Energy Ltd, fronted by Gregor, and Noic, which imports, transports, stores and handles petroleum products locally.
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Investigations show that the project was actually mulled in 2010 during the Government of National Unity between the late president Robert Mugabe and founding main opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has also died.
Cross was the deal-maker and he initially worked with former Energy minister Elton Mangoma who wanted to build a regional fuel hub in Zimbabwe.
The NewsHawks were told that Cross was given the task to push the project because of his vast experience in the business. Said an anonymous source:
His task was to look for a company that could design and fund a new Beira-Harare pipeline. He did so and found the Mining, Oil and Gas Supply Company (Mogs) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The company had been founded by Gregor, a South African chemical engineer who refused to serve in the apartheid army and left South Africa to start a new life in Texas, the United States.
While there, Gregor established Mogs as a service company for the oil and gas business in the southern states of America. This became a major operation and spread wings into the Middle East region.
Mangoma and Cross tabled the project at a cost of US$850 million but ZANU PF’s victory in the 2013 election stalled the project. Below are some of the findings of the investigations conducted by the NewsHawks:
Ncube told The NewsHawsks the pipeline is wholly owned by the government, not Tagwirei.
When Mnangagwa seized power in November 2017, the new pipeline project was revived, with Cross playing a major role.
Tagwirei and business partners resisted it and Mnangagwa’s government shelved it again. Mutsvangwa was livid about it at the time and had public outbursts over it.
Tagwirei sold his fuel business to Trafigura opening a new window of opportunity.
Gregor who had gone to establish Coven Energy in the UK was approached again and agreed.
In 2019, Mnangagwa appointed Ncube the Noic chair to further facilitate the project.
Documents show that the project will run for 30 years, starting off with eight million tonnes of product per annum.
Cabinet approved the project on Tuesday, 10 August 2021.
Company records in the UK show that Coven was only established by Gregor in August last year, apparently for this project only.
Coven Energy Limited — whose registration number is 12835465 — was registered on 25 August 2020, raising questions around issues of experience and capacity to undertake such a huge project.
It is located at Flat 501, 1 Bolander Grove, London, England.
The company has four directors including Gregor, who is chair and was appointed the day the company was registered.
Other directors are Alexander Fraser Russell, Stephanus Du Toit Burger, both South African nationals, and Ghanaian Leon Kendon Appenteng.
Both Gregor and the Highlands Group have the same address as Coven Energy.
The NewsHawks contacted Ncube for a comment and he requested to be given “time to work things out.”
This comes as Zimbabweans are not happy with some deals including that of local businessmen and ex-convict, Wicknell Chivayo, that have no tangible results when the taxpayers’ money would have been paid.
More: The NewsHawks