Zimbabwe Drags Health Minister to Court over COVID-19 Medical Supplies Corruption Allegation

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Zimbabwe Drags Health Minister to Court over COVID-19 Medical Supplies Corruption Allegation
Nwolu Obiajulu

The health minster of Zimbabwe has been charged to court on grounds of criminal abuse of power as a government officer, alleged to have awarded a COVID-19 medical supplies contract running into millions of dollars to an obscure company at bloated prices.

The company had sold $28 face masks to government at bulging prices. Anti-craft agency on Friday arrested the health minister- Obadiah Moyo after a public outcry and the contract was annulled.

President Mnangagwa’s son issued a statement debunking any involvement with the said firm after pictures of the Zimbabwean representative of the firm enjoying company of the president, his wife and sons at ceremonies surfaced in the media.

Delish Nguwaya, the representative is charged with criminal dealings alongside some bigwigs of the national drugs procurement agency for involvement in the scandal.

Nguwaya stands trial for wrongful claim of the company being a Switzerland drugs manufacturing firm, “whereas it was merely a consulting company with no experience in the manufacture of drug and medical products,” according to the charge sheet.

The health minister was released on bail to return to court on July 31. His bail was argued by the prosecution citing possibility of fleeing the country before completion of trial, however, that was not requested in court. The former hospital administrator might be sentenced to up 15 years in confinement if convicted.

According to the charge sheet, Moyo “exerted pressure” on his subordinates to award the contracts worth $60 million last year and this year.

Health workers- nurses and doctors in Zimbabwe ae currently on strike demanding payment of their salaries in U.S. dollars while a single individual is accused to have embezzled millions of dollars. The striking workers say inflation have reduced the value of their income. The country has an inflation rate of about 750% while the value of its currency is nosediving.

 

The decline in the value of currency has forced traders in the southern African nation to charge for goods in U.S dollars. Zimbabwe has long battled economic instability.

The health professionals also have complained about lack of adequate protective gear as the number of coronavirus cases rises.

Zimbabwe has nearly 500 cases.

Source: CGTN Africa

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