Zimbabwe: Health Minister Charged with Three Counts of Criminal Abuse

Zimbabwe’s Health Minister, Dr. Obadiah Moyo who spent a night in police custody has been charged with three counts of criminal abuse of office. The charges were read out during a court appearance Saturday in the capital Harare.

 

According to official sources, the Minister allegedly influenced the award of a contract to a company called Drax International LLC. He reportedly exerted pressure on his subordinates and ignored proper procedures, despite being fully aware of the suppliers' adverse report from previous tenders with the Health Ministry.

 

Dr. Moyo was also accused of allowing another contract between the company and the Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe, NatPharm under a USD40 million loan facility. Under this facility Drax International supplied Covid-19 test kits valued at almost USD1 million which were procured well after the contract had been cancelled.

 

It is further alleged that Mr. Moyo instructed George Guvamatanga, Secretary at the Ministry of Finance to write a letter to the Health Ministry to initiate the release of Covid-19 test kits which were held at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport.

 

Prior to Dr. Moyo’s arrest, the Drax representative in the country, Delish Nguwaya had already been dragged to court as well as officials from NatPharm. NatPharm is the sole agent for procurement, storage, and distribution of medical supplies to public health facilities in Zimbabwe.

 

State witnesses in the matter include Agnes Mahomva, former Secretary at the Ministry of Health who is now  National Covid-19 Coordinator in the President’s Office, George Guvamatanga, Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Gerald Gwinji, Former Secretary at the Health Ministry and NatPharm Managing Director, Flora Sifeku.

 

Dr. Moyo is expected back in court on July 31. He was granted bail Saturday in the sum of 50,000 Zimbabwean Dollars (USD600)