A businessman has been arrested in connection with a fuel scam in which he is alleged to have siphoned 18 000 litres of diesel from a Zuva service station in the middle of the night, prejudicing hundreds of motorists who were queuing to procure the same.

The scandal, one of which the newly-appointed Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi vowed to end, also involves fuel attendants at the Blue Star filling station located near the Green Market in Sakubva, Mutare.

Nolan Simbarashe Manyuchi (32) and his truck driver Liberty Mukuto (26) will today (Friday) appear before a Mutare magistrate on theft charges.

They were arrested on Wednesday and have spent two nights in holding cells at Mutare Central Police Station.

Deputy Manicaland police spokesman, Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda, said the crime was committed on May 17.

Circumstances to the case are that Officer Commanding Mutare District Police, Chief Superintendent Florence Marume, received a tip off that the suspects were going to execute their plan at night in the cover of darkness.

At around 12 midnight, Chief Sup Marume set up an ambush with a team of cops and raided the suspects who were in the middle of pumping 18 000 litres of diesel into their tanker.

During the raid, the driver of the truck bolted from the scene. He was arrested three days later together with Manyuchi.

The fuel tanker was subsequently impounded by the police. The truck which is currently parked at Mutare Central Police Station will be used in court as exhibit.

Cops handling the case revealed that the owner of the service station was not aware of the midnight transaction.

They said hundreds of motorists who were queuing for fuel in the afternoon were advised that the product had run out but more than 18 000 litres of diesel were in the underground tanks set aside for the midnight scam.

On Wednesday, after he was sworn in at State House, Minister Chasi vowed to end fuel hoarding and other corrupt practices.

He said he will empower the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority to tightly monitor activities and restore order in the energy sector.

Minister Chasi said acts of misconduct by some fuel attendants who sell thousands of litres to individual customers prejudicing other queuing motorists must end.