People in the fuel industry claim that MOGS is an MDC project which was meant fund opposition activities had the party won the 2013 elections, government officials have revealed.
The officials say 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 the time.
The move was thwarted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa when it was presented in Cabinet, who back then was Justice minister.
After hitting the brickwall and after the MDC lost the 2013 election, MOGS is said to have approached several Zanu PF bigwigs, chief among them former presidential adviser, Christopher Mutsvangwa, in a bid to save the deal.
The South African company sought to acquire a 50 percent stake of the Feruka pipeline from LonMin in 2012, a deal meant to bankroll the MDC's activities.
"At that time, the proposal came under Royal Bafokeng, which was 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," one of the sources in government said.
Another source said the deal meant government would write a letter waiving its 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 [National Oil Infrastructure Company] 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," the source further said, adding the contract would run for 25 years.
Another source heavily involved in the fuel deal during the government of national unity said fissures emerged in the opposition on what percentage the party would hold.
"The chief architect of the noise was Tendai Biti, who argued that 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 [Zimbabwe National Road Administration], 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," the source said.
Biti allegedly hatched a plan with Eddie Cross, where they roped in the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
"Tsvangirai then invited the King of Royal Bafokeng (Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi) to Zimbabwe and hosted a dinner for him 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 behaviour, Mangoma started throwing spanners until Biti and Mangoma patched their differences," the source said.
"Agreements were hurriedly drafted and pushed through the NOIC–MDC run board at that time. Two days before the elections, then secretary of Energy and Power Development, 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 the MDC lost."
Even after elections, Biti, Cross and Nyemba tried to get this deal done to 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 (Joaquim) 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)?" another source said.
It is also believe that Mnangagwa played a key in halting 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 that the pipeline be managed from outside Zimbabwe," an official privy to goings-on in the deal said.
"He was equipped with information by 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.
Mnangagwa found the root cause of this problem. In April 2015, the entire NOIC board was fired."
After Operation Restore Legacy in 2017, Cross and Chris Mutsvangwa tried to revive the MOGS deal.
They thought it was Mugabe who had stood in their way.
"In 2017, Mutsvangwa became the adviser to the President. He was tasked with reviving the MOGS deal.
He took the deal to Mnangagwa for approval, but the latter told Mutsvangwa to do all necessary investigations," sources say.
"Mutsvangwa then went to enlist Tinmac [Tinoda Machakaire] to recruit (Sakunda Holdings founder Kudakwashe) 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," the oil sector source said.
Mnangagwa is said to have agreed that the MOGs deal could go ahead on the condition that the South African company would build its own separate pipeline, while government and MOGs would hold an equal shareholding.
"MOGS will not participate at all in the current pipeline as NOIC will get the management contract for both pipelines."
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