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US$60m Drax corruption case collapses… all key stakeholders acquitted

The US$60 million Drax Covidgate scandal has literally collapsed following the controversial acquittal of all key stakeholders.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo chats with Nat Pharm managing director Mrs Florah Nancy Sifeku (left) while stores pharmacist Ms Rumbidzai Kanhema (background) looks on during a tour of NatPharm warehouse in Harare yesterday. — (Picture by Memory Mangombe)
Then Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo chats with Nat Pharm managing director Mrs Florah Nancy Sifeku (left) while stores pharmacist Ms Rumbidzai Kanhema (background) looks on during a tour of NatPharm warehouse in Harare. — (Picture by Memory Mangombe)

Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guvuriro yesterday removed two NatPharm bosses, former Managing Director Nancy Flora Sifeku and former finance manager Rolland Mlalazi, who were arrested for illegally awarding a tender for the supply Covid-19 materials to a shadowy company called Drax International.

In acquitting them magistrate Muchuchuti-Guvuriro said the State had failed to provide the accused persons with a trial date within a reasonable time.

The two were accused of failing to follow procedures in awarding Drax International LLC a tender to supply Covid-19 materials and medicines.

The scandal led to the arrest of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo last year, a few days after Drax International representative Delish Nguwaya was also arrested on charges of lying to the government that his company was a medical firm in a bid to supply the government with supplies. They were all released on bail.

The case took a twist when President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s wife Auxillia and son Collins were also fingered as the alleged beneficiaries.

Leaked documents suggested that a company called Drax Consult and Drax International were first awarded a contract worth US$20 million to supply medical equipment and medicines and another US$40 million for the supply of Covid-19 medicine and personal protective equipment.

The deal was canceled and the beneficiaries are working on recovering the two million that had already been paid by the Zimbabwean government. Nehanda Radio

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