By ZBC Reporter
THE Minister of Health and Child care Dr. Obadiah Moyo has been released on ZWL$50,000 bail after he appeared before Harare Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi.
Moyo appeared before Harare Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi facing three counts of alleged criminal abuse of office.
According to the State, Moyo verbally instructed his subordinates to award a tender to a company called Drax International for the supply medicines despite the fact the company had failed the due diligence test.
As part of his bail conditions, Moyo was ordered to deposit 50 thousand dollars bail, surrender his passport to the clerk of court, reside at his given address, not to interfere with the witnesses, surrender title deeds of the house belonging to his wife and report to the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) thrice a week.
Moyo will be back in court on 31 July for trial.
The minister was arrested Friday by the ZACC over his alleged involvement in NatPharm’s unprocedural contract with Drax International LLC to supply medicines and surgical sundries.
The state represented by Clemence Chimbare told the court that there are no reasons for denying Moyo bail while Moyo was being represented by James Mutizwa who refused to comment.
His arrest followed the arrest of three NatPharm bosses this week on charges of criminal abuse of office for approving the deal with Drax, now known as Drax Consult SAGL after a name change, without following laid down procurement procedures.
On count one, it is alleged that Moyo verbally instructed subordinates to award the tender to Drax International knowing full well that the company had failed the due diligence test.
According to the court papers sometime in March 2019, Minister 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.
After receiving the letter, the accused instructed the former Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Rtd Major General Dr Gerald Gwinji to award the tender to Papi Pharma LLC.
ON 20 March, Dr Gwinji instead wrote to the treasury requesting for due diligence to be undertaken before the aforementioned company could be contracted for business.
It is alleged Minister Moyo, using his position and influence verbally directed Dr Gwinji to engage Papi Pharma LLC before a response on due diligence was received from treasury.
On the 25th of March, the secretary for Finance and Economic Development, George Guvamatanga wrote to Dr Gwinji requesting that he furnish treasury with comparative international prices for the various medicines which were to be supplied by Papi Pharma LLC.
Resultantly, Dr Gwinji instructed Natpharm to engage Papi Pharma LLC to proceed with the procurement process and on the 29th of May 2019, Natpharm awarded the tender to Papi Pharma before due diligence was concluded.
On count two, in August 2019, Delish Nguwaya again visited the accused with a legal representative of Drax Consult SAGL, IIir Dedja, where the two presented a letter of expression of interest in the supply of medicines worth US$20 million.
It is alleged that Minister Moyo then called the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Agnes Mahomva, to his office where he instructed her to process the papers. Dr Mahomva then wrote to Treasury requesting for due diligence to be conducted before the papers could be processed.
In September, the secretary for Finance, Guvamatanga, after receiving a response from the Office of the President and Cabinet that the business of Drax could not be ascertained, wrote to Dr Mahomva advising that it was not advisable to engage Drax Consult SAGL.
It is further alleged that, Minister Moyo exerted pressure on his subordinates in meetings held in his office while he also phoned Guvamatanga indicating that there was new information on Drax Consult SAGL and that the company had been cleared.
As a result on 11 December 2019 Natpharm and Drax Consult SAGL entered into a US$2 733 980.00 contract for the supply of medicines and surgical sundries of which two million was paid into Drax Consult SAGL bank account in Hungary.
On the third count, the accused again caused the awarding of another US$40 million tender to Drax Consult SAGL despite knowing that the company had an adverse report and had not performed fully as per terms of the two previous contracts, moreover the company had not been cleared by Treasury.
Treasury then ordered a cancellation of the contract. However Drax Consult SAGL supplied COVID-19 test kits valued at US$987 720.00 despite the fact that the contract had been cancelled and it is alleged Minister Moyo ordered Guvamatanga to initiate the release of the test kits which were being held at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International airport.
In turn Guvamatanga wrote to the Secretary for Ministry of Health to authorise the release of the test kits but reiterated that the contract remains cancelled.
Drax representative Delish Nguwaya has since been charged in court over the deal.
Sources close to investigations said Dr Moyo was invited to Zacc headquarters on Wednesday to record statements before he was released to allow investigators to study the documents further, investigations that led to yesterday’s arrest.