GOVERNMENT has summoned the owners of Gunvor, the crude oil supplier, to appear before a ministerial committee to explain the delivery of contaminated commingled feedstock which has left Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola partially shut-down.
Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development permanent secretary Emelda Chola confirmed the summoning of the Gunvor officials to the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday.
Brigadier General Chola said Government was concerned about the crisis at Indeni caused by the contaminated commingled feedstock supplied by the Swiss oil marketing company.
She said the meeting would be held in the next few days, adding that Government was doing everything possible to ensure that the truth came out over the supply of the contaminated commingled feedstock.
Brig. Gen. Chola said Gunvor entered into a contract with Government to supply the country with commingled feedstock in 2012 and renewed it last year in October, up to next year.
“Gunvor supplied Zambia with the contaminated commingled feedstock. From the test we have done it is saying that we have high levels of organic chlorides in the commingled feedstock which Gunvor supplied us. So the only way we can move forward is by calling Gunvor and we have summoned Gunvor to appear before the ministerial committee here. We also want to do some more tests together with Gunvor and ourselves in order to get the results and see the way forward,” she said.
Brig. Gen Chola said the Ministry was expecting Gunvor representatives into the country in the next few days and both teams would hold meetings and tests together before a final decision could be reached on the way forward.
She said Government through the ministry has since summoned Gunvor to explain the contamination of the feedstock and to look at the damage it has allegedly caused to the refinery in Ndola.
Brig. Gen. Chola explained that so far Government has spent over K10 million on the repairs of Indeni from the time the contaminated commingled feedstock was deposited at the Ndola refinery, causing a partial shut down.
“What the Minister talked about in Parliament is just preliminary expenditure for now. We may spend more than that. That is why we want to set up a committee to investigate the extent of damages the commingled feedstock has caused to the company. This is a crisis which Government is addressing with utmost attention,” she said.
Brig. Gen Chola also said people should stop politicizing the crisis or accuse the current leadership of being behind the importation of the contaminated commingled feedstock. She said the contract was signed last year in October before President Edgar Lungu became Head of State.
“The Republic of Zambia through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development entered into a contract of the supply of comingled feedstock with Gunvor SA. This is a company incorporated in Switzerland.
“Further after they completed their initial contract a further addendum was given to the contract that runs from 2012 to 2014 for the supply of the same feedstock.We also contracted them to supply the country with more feedstocks and the contract was signed in October 2014 and not this year. This contract which is running now, is ending next year,” Brig. Gen. Chola said.
But Gunvor Group of Cyprus has denied ever supplying Zambia with contaminated oil.