President Emmerson Mnangagwa has stripped Health minister Obadiah Moyo off his cabinet post “for conduct inappropriate for a government minister.”
This comes after Moyo was recently arrested over a scandal surrounding the procurement of coronavirus tests and equipment.
Moyo,66, was arraigned before Harare Magistrates’ Court in June facing three counts of criminal abuse of duty by a public officer.
For the first count, it was the State’s case that sometime in March last year Moyo was approached by Delish Nguwaya a country representative for Papi Pharma LLC who presented a letter of interest to supply medicines and medical sundries under a US$15 million loan facility.
The court heard that after receiving the letter from Papi Pharma LLC Moyo called former permanent secretary in the ministry retired major general Gerald Gwinji and told him to process the paperwork and award the tender to Papi Pharma LLC under a direct purchase.
On March 20 last year Gwinji is said to have written a letter to Treasury requesting that due diligence be undertaken on Papi Pharma LLC before it would be contracted for business by government.
However, Moyo using his position and influence verbally directed Gwinji to engage Papi Pharma LLC before a response on due diligence had been received from Treasury.
On March 25 Gwinji received a response from the secretary of Finance George Guvamatanga requesting to be furnished with competitive international prices for the various medicines outlined in the schedule by Papi Pharma LLC.
Resultantly Gwinji directed Natpharm through Flora Sifeku the general manager which engaged Papi Pharma LLC to proceed with the procurement process.
The court heard that on May 29 Natpharm then used a direct purchase method and awarded the tender to Papi Pharma LLC before due diligence was concluded.
It is alleged that on June 14 an adverse report was received from the Foreign Affairs and International secretary J Manzou indicating that the company and its director Klodian Allajbeu were linked to a terrorist group known as Gulen Movement.
By causing awarding of a tender into a contract with Papi Pharma, Moyo showed favour to Papi Pharma LLC causing a potential prejudice of US$15 million.
On the second count on August 22 Nguwaya visited Moyo in the company of Illir Dedja a legal representative of Drax Consult SAGL.
During the visit, Nguwaya and Dedja presented a letter of expression of interest in the supply of drugs worth US$20 million under Drax.
Moyo called former permanent secretary for Health Agnes Mahomva and handed her the letter of expression of interest for processing.
Mahomva then wrote to treasury requesting for due diligence to be conducted on Drax and the process began.
On September 19 Guvamatanga received a response from the President’s office with indications that the business activities of the company could not be ascertained.
On September 25 Guvamatanga wrote to Mahomva advising that it was not advisable to engage Drax due to adverse due diligence report and the following day Moyo phoned Guvamatanga indicating that new information had been received and that Drax had been cleared.
The court heard that Moyo actually knew the company activities were yet to be ascertained because there was no evidence to support that.
However, Moyo exerted pressure on his subordinates particularly Mahomva to award a tender to Drax for the supply of medicines through Natpharm during meetings he held in his office with officials from the ministry, Ntapha and representatives from Drax.
On December 11 Natpharm and Drax entered into a contract and supplied medicine and surgical sundries worth US$2 733 980 of which US$2 million was paid by Treasury into Drax’s Hungary account.
On that count, Moyo’s conduct caused a potential prejudice of US$17 266 020. – Morning Post Zimbabwe