By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo has claimed that his ministry has no record of issuing a diplomatic passport to controversial businessman and first family friend Delish Nguwaya.
This comes after allegations that fraud suspect Nguwaya was a holder of a diplomatic passport, which he was allegedly awarded by top government officials given his proximity to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son Collins.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio on Monday, Moyo rejected the social media claims as false and baseless and that the information was meant to tarnish the government.
He added that, the Registrar General had a record that Nguwaya had an ordinary passport.
“Following social media reports of Sunday 21 June 2020 claiming that Mr Delish Nguwaya is a holder of a diplomatic passport, I wish to inform the nation that as the custodians of the diplomatic passports in Zimbabwe, my ministry has no record of our issuing a diplomatic passport to Delish Nguwaya.
“I wish to confirm that from the Registrar-General’s Office records, Mr Nguwaya is a bona fide holder of an ordinary passport that was issued in Harare on 4 October 2011 and expires on 3 October 2021,’’ Moyo said.
Diplomatic passports come with VIP treatment and are typically issued to individuals who travel overseas on official government business mostly diplomats and consul workers.
The incumbent Zanu PF party has extended the privilege to all its Politburo members.
Nguwaya was arrested last week after he was accused of lying to government that his company was a medical firm in a bid to be awarded tenders for Covid-19 medical supplies to the Health Ministry using his companies Drax SAGL and Drax International.
It is alleged that Nguwaya lied that Drax was based in Switzerland when it was only a consulting company with no experience in the manufacturing of medicines.
Health Minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested last week Friday by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officials after he was accused of illegally awarding the US$60 million contract for COVID-19 testing kits, drugs and personal protective equipment to Drax International.
He was released after paying ZW$50 000 in bail.
Moyo was only arrested after the scandal roiled the country and played out on social media, where some local journalists exposed how he allegedly chose the company to sell medical supplies to the government at inflated prices that included face masks for US$28 each.
Initially, in the scandal, Mnangagwa’s son, Collins, was embroiled in a US$1m personal protective equipment (PPE) dispute while the Zanu PF leader’s top bodyguard, Valdano Brown, also won lucrative contracts to supply Covid-19 equipment to the Ministry of Health without going through a competitive bidding process.
Both Collins and Brown have been linked to foreign registered firms, Drax International in Dubai and Jaji Investment in Namibia, the two companies that allegedly belong to a group of firms believed to be connected to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa and her son which had scored lucrative contracts with the government during the virus outbreak.
Mnangagwa’s family and Delish are believed to have pocketed nearly US$1m after being contracted to supply the government with inflated coronavirus fighting equipment.
When details emerged pointing to Collins’ alleged involvement in the illicit deals, he quickly distanced himself from Nguwaya, an operative behind Drax International. Nehanda Radio