Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

NatPharm officials on ZACC radar…. silence on Health Minister Moyo

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo has said investigations on the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) managers and government officials over alleged corruption during the procurement of medical accessories including Covid-19 protection equipment and test kits were now afoot.

ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo
ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Matanda-Moyo on Thursday confirmed that investigations were taking place but no one had been charged yet.

“This week our investigators interviewed a number of officials over alleged irregular procurement of drugs. They were asked questions before going back to their homes.

“We are still investigating, and after information gathering, we will then make a decision on whether or not there was any criminal conduct. After that, we may have to decide on who should be charged,” Matanda-Moyo said.

Government on Friday last week ordered NatPharm to cancel contracts with controversial “Swiss” medicine supplier, Drax International after the company was exposed to have been awarded contracts to supply medicines and surgical sundries worth US$60 million without going to tender.

Drax International registered as a government supplier last year after claiming a Swiss address, and then proceeded to inflate prices by 200 percent on coronavirus test kits and coveralls. The deal was exposed by leaked papers and embarrassed the government into “demanding” a price review.

Government was under fire from civil society organisations, opposition party officials, journalists and the general citizens over the alleged corruption which was believed to be stemming from the First Family, hence the cancellation of the controversial Drax deal.

Drax International, the company fronted by dodgy businessman Delish Nguwaya, has also been linked to Collins Mnangagwa, son to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

On Friday last week, in a letter to NatPharm managing director Mrs Flora Sifeku, acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Gibson Mhlanga ordered the cancellation of all treasury instructions related to Drax.

“You are being directed to cancel all contracts that you had with Drax SAGL with immediate effect.

“Please be advised that this process needs to be completed by latest Friday June 12, 2020 and all documentation showing cancellation of the same to be submitted in my office by then. Please treat this issue with the urgency that it requires,” wrote Dr Mhlanga.

On Thursday, South African opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Sello Malema condemned as “evil and cruel” the alleged corruption currently going on in Zimbabwe.

“We applaud the fight against corruption and looting of public funds going on in Zimbabwe. It is cruel and evil for anyone regardless of who they are to steal money meant to help citizens fight Covid-19. There is nothing revolutionary or patriotic about thieving. Pasi neMbavha!” Malema said.

There are now growing calls for Health Minister Obadiah Moyo to sacked over the opaque deals that have seen Drax International and Jaji Investments skimming treasury. Nehanda Radio