By Zvamaida Murwira
The Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) yesterday recovered about 40 boxes of Covid-19 testing kits worth more than US$12 000 whose origin was traced to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, as the anti graft body intensifies investigations into abuse of Personal Protective Equipment.
Investigations are now zeroing in on Mpilo Hospital, with a view to arrest officials from that hospital who might be implicated in the scam.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure confirmed the recovery and vowed that the Commission will leave no stone unturned in its fight against corruption.
“On 18 January 2021, we received information alleging that suspected stolen Standard Q Covid-19 test kits were being sold on the black market in Harare,” he said.
“A follow up was then made which led to the recovery of 40 boxes of Standard Q Covid-19 test kits at Bard House offices opposite Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with a street value of USD12 500.
“Investigations established that the kits were a donation from Unicef to the Government of Zimbabwe through National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm).
“The recovered consignment was traced back to Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo where they were stolen from. Investigations are in progress with a view to arrest officials from Mpilo Hospital.”
Comm Makamure warned people involved in abuse of PPEs, saying the long arm of the law will inevitably catch up with them.
“These people are obviously working against the Government of Zimbabwe in its resolve to fight the Covid-19 pandemic so that ordinary citizens can live a normal and disease free life,” he said.
“Some people are seeing the Covid-19 disease and attendant measures being taken to combat it as a way to make money.
“They think it is an opportunity for rich pickings and line their pockets at the expense of the health of ordinary persons. This must stop. As Zacc, we will not fold our arms, but we will use every effort to weed them out. So, we would like to send a strong warning to unscrupulous and would be offenders.”
Comm Makamure has said ZACC has opened investigations on pharmacies that were diverting Covid-19 drugs on the black market despite the fact that they would have accessed the foreign currency to import them on the central bank facilitated auction rate.
The antigraft body said preliminary investigations have also indicated that some pharmacies were insisting on payment in foreign currency. The Herald.