Fortune Chasi Disclaimer Invigorates Govt To Defend Controversial Sotic Deal
16 August 2020
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State Media

THE Government has dismissed as patently false claims by exiled former Cabinet Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, that the National Oil and Infrastructure Company (NOIC) received a US1,2 billion loan from a foreign company, Sotic International.

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Permanent Secretary Mr George Guvamatanga yesterday said no such deal was ever signed. Prof Moyo alleged that NOIC was forced to mortgage the national oil pipeline to secure the said loan. He claimed this was behind the decision to drop Fortune Chasi from his position as Minister of Energy and Power Development last week.

However, no such loan agreement was ever signed.

“The information is false. The value of the pipeline is US$300 million. Sotic could only lend money that it would have raised from its bankers, unless it had free cash flows.

“Which bank would lend you US$1,2 billion against security of an asset worth US$300 million? One of the critical tenets of lending is the purpose of the loan and the source of repayment.

“An international lender would not conduct adequate due diligence and lend a country $1,2 billion which will then be fraudulently diverted,” said Mr Guvamatanga.

Loans to Government are guided by the Public Debt Management Act, and any Government borrowing goes through a Debt Management Committee chaired by the Secretary for Finance with the Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney-General being the other members of the committee.

“No loan would be captured in Government books if not approved by this committee. The approval then allows the loan to be captured into Government books for the purpose of repayment.

“It is not possible to record the loan if the loan proceeds have not been received and just like in the banks, there is also a process of front office, middle office and back office in the Public Debt Management Office,” said Mr Guvamatanga.

The system is foolproof and one could not just end up with a loan where the proceeds were never received and captured in the system. Mr Chasi himself dismissed Moyo’s claims and clarified that he never commissioned an investigation into any Sotic deal. No investigation was ever done on NOIC, he added.

“I have seen a set of tweets (by) Jonathan Moyo suggesting that I caused an investigation into what he calls the SOTIC deal. I have no knowledge of this deal nor did I cause the alleged investigation.

“In my entire tenure at the Ministry, I never caused any investigation or enquiry into anything at NOIC. I had no issues at that level.

“I must make it very very clear that I don’t habour any bitterness regarding my current position. I accept the decision to relieve me of my position as that is the President’s prerogative,” Mr Chasi tweeted.

Moyo’s latest claim is just one of several contradictory conspiracies that he has fed his followers over the last few days. On Friday, posting a screenshot of a WhatsApp message, Moyo claimed that Chasi had been fired after he “reportedly struck a deal with Glencore Industries, owners of Total”.

However, Glencore, a UK commodities company based in Switzerland, in fact does not own Total, a French oil firm. There is no relationship between the two firms.

Challenged on that lie, Prof Moyo admitted that his claims “don’t quite add up”. It was then that Moyo changed his story to Sotic. His frantic tweets came after it emerged that Moyo and other former G40 allies had written to the ANC, begging South Africa’s ruling party to help G40 remnants to be readmitted into ZANU PF. Only the revolutionary movement had the capacity to resolve any problems in Zimbabwe, the 5 July letter to the ANC said.

“We don’t believe that there is an alternative political formation in Zimbabwe which can address this crisis,” Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao said in the letter