Two fined for operating illegal clinics

TWO people have been fined $150 000 each for operating clinics and selling pharmaceutical drugs without licences in Mhangura, Mashonaland West Province.

Henry Norbert Mahogo (55) and Mafios Choto (60) appeared before Chinhoyi Magistrates Court where they were convicted.

Various pharmaceutical drugs that were recovered were destroyed in terms of the law.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests and subsequent appearance of the duo in court.

“Police in Chinhoyi recovered an assortment of medicinal drugs and arrested Henry Norbert Mahogo aged 55 and Mafios Choto aged 60 for operating clinics and selling pharmaceutical drugs without licences in Mhangura,” he said.

“The duo appeared before Chinhoyi Magistrates Court where they were convicted and sentenced to a fine of $150 000 each.

“The recovered drugs were destroyed as required in terms of the Drugs and Allied Substances Act.”

In February, there were reports that some pharmacies were diverting onto the black market drugs bought using foreign currency allotted on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction facility, which they resold for much higher prices in foreign currency.

Drugs that could have been used to suppress Covid-19 symptoms, were especially abused.

These syndicates, which include pharmacies and other health facilities, demand payment in US dollars despite the fact that the importers or wholesalers, bought them using forex obtained from the auction system.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating the abusers and if hard evidence of the practice is found, several pharmaceutical importers and retailers could be arrested.

Zacc spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure was quoted as saying: “Medical supplies are one of those items that have been given priority in the allocation of foreign currency by the RBZ so the importers can bid at the auctions.

“We have received complaints that some unscrupulous pharmacies were accessing the hard currency to procure Covid-19 drugs. The drugs would be on shelves briefly. They would then de-shelve them and divert them onto the black market.

“The reports we are receiving are that other pharmacies, upon receiving RBZ auction proceeds, they will insist on selling the drugs in foreign currency.”

Some of the drugs that were de-shelved, but resurfaced on the black market include Ivermectin, an anti-parastic drug that is being studied to establish its efficacy in the treatment of Covid-19 symptoms.

The Government recently authorised its import for further studies.
(The Herald)