MWENEZI - A syndicate comprising Rutenga-based illegal fuel dealers and some goods train drivers is involved in organised theft whereby large quantities of diesel is drained from goods trains and later on sold on the black market, TellZim News has learnt.
Sources say the syndicate, which also includes dishonest police officers, has profited immensely at the expense of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).
It is said the theft involves several goods train drivers travelling from Mozambique and South Africa stopping some kilometres before Rutenga Station where they drain diesel for sale to illegal fuel dealers.
“These incidents are occurring in the dead of the night. The illegal fuel dealers would always be communicating with goods train drivers and they have a place deep in the bush where they strike their deals. Dealers drive into the forest in pick-up trucks and lorries loaded with empty drums which are then filled with diesel,” said a source.
One illegal fuel dealer said the deal now involved some police officers who are conspiring with train drivers to drain the fuel.
“You find that most of the diesel we sell on the black market is too dark, being that we get from the trains. When the police conduct raids on us, they always find nothing at our selling points because we work with some of them and they alert us,” said an illegal fuel dealer.
TellZim News heard that a recent raid involving the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and military intelligence yielded nothing as the syndicate already knew about it well in advance.
The illegal fuel trade is also rampant among cross-border truck drivers coming from South Africa as well as among earth-moving equipment drivers working on the Rutenga - Sarahuru Road.