Mount Meru directors facing charges at Shinyanga court

08Jun 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Mount Meru directors facing charges at Shinyanga court

FOUR directors of Mount Meru Petroleum Limited are facing criminal charges at Shinyanga Resident’s Magistrate Court over violation of Contractors Registration Act of 1997 as amended in 2008.

Some of the Mount Meru oil tankers parked in Dar es Salaam. File photo.

In a summon published in the local media last week, Shinyanga Resident Magistrate ordered Mount Meru’s Arvin Kumar Mittal, Atu Mittal, Sarvesh Jain and Tarsem Aggarwal to appear before the court on Friday, June 28 facing criminal charges after engaging an unregistered contractor.

“You are hereby commanded in the name of the Republic to appear in the Court on the 28 day of June, 2019 at 08:00am, or soon thereafter as the case can be heard,” said the summon. The latest development comes at a time when Mount Meru’s oil tankers have been detained by authorities in Zambia on misclassification of content and alleged smuggled edible oil.

Over a fortnight ago, Zambia’s Daily Nation newspaper reported that Mount Meru tankers were detained by Zambia Revenue Authority officials for loading cooking oil in tankers labelled as petroleum carriers.  Instead of carrying fuel, they were transporting cooking oil which they disguised as crude palm oil.

There is now fear that contamination of edible oil being carried in the fuel tankers could pose serious health risks to consumers, Daily Nation said in its story. The paper’s reporters who gained entry into the ZRA warehouse in Makeni found the 36 fuel tankers belonging to Mount Meru which were impounded last month for allegedly smuggling cooking oil.

Zambia’s Consumer Protection Commission also demanded an explanation and possible sanctions on the company if it was found wanting, saying such practices were detrimental to the health of the consumers.

CCPC Director, Chilufya Sampa said the action by Mount Meru was unfortunate. “I would not think that a tanker meant for fuel can also be used for edible products like cooking oil and if it is true, this is a very unfortunate development. They should be sanctioned. We hope that the sanctions imposed on them will stop them from engaging in such practices,” Sampa, the paper quoted the CCPC chief as saying.

But Tanzania Revenue Authority’s Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Patrick Akonaay said their investigations had established that the petroleum tankers were loaded with edible oil at port of Beira in Mozambique.

“Mount Meru trucks which are being held by Zambian authorities did not originate from Dar es Salaam Port. The petroleum tankers were loaded at Beira Port in Mozambique,” Akonaay said while commenting on allegations that the trucks’ port of origin was Dar es Salaam.