Zimbabwe Vice-President caught up in US$5,6 Million Covid-19 scandal

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Zimbabwe’s
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Health and Child Care Minister

 Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and Health and Child Care Minister is implicated in a massive corruption scandal where he instructed his deputy and personal doctor, John Mangwiro, to fast-track the US$5,6 million Covid-19 materials tender scam.

The corruption allegation was revealed by the deputy minister himself in a statement on Monday following a scathing article that appeared in State media on Sunday.

“It is not correct that I interfered with the bidding process. On August 14, 2020, at around 2100 hours I received a phone call from the Hon Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care (Chiwenga). He wanted me to get an update on what was causing the delays to the procurement of the Covid-19 requirements,” Mangwiro said.

Mangwiro is being investigated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on the allegations of delaying procurement of Covid-19 materials resulting in “Financial implications when he demanded prepayment of undelivered goods.”

According to a ZACC report seen by Josey News Network Friday, the procurement process of the tender by a local health company called Natpharm was marred by directives from the Mangwiro, resulting in delaying the procurement.

The fallout of this case saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo after he was also accused of awarding a USD 60 million tender to a shadowy company called Drax International without requisite paperwork.

“Given the extent to which the Deputy Minister was involved in the said tender process, indications are that he was acting on his own capacity and not on behalf of the Ministry. The actions of the Deputy Minister signal a personal interest in the tender and this should have prompted him to declare his interest.

“The conduct of the Minister during this tender process warrants further investigations for Criminal Abuse of Office for possible violation of Section 174 of the Criminal Law Codification Act [Chapter 9:23].

“Apart from this provision, further investigations should be conducted to ascertain a possible violation of Section 14 of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] by the Deputy Minister through giving ministerial directives having financial implications when he demanded prepayment of undelivered goods to Young Health Care.

“There is a need for further investigations into the possible violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23] as the conduct of the Deputy Minister might have compromised the independence of Natpharm as a procurement entity.

“The Commission should closely follow the re-floated tender laboratory equipment, reagents, and consumables for COVID-19 to ensure competitive bidding and that undeserving bidder are not awarded the contracts.

“Best practices and good corporate governance should always be applied during procurement processes. Officials who are appointed to carry out the procurement process should be allowed to do so independently without
interference.

“Investigations into possible violations of the Cabinet Directive that granted Natpharm exclusive powers for procurement of Covid 19 materials,” read the report. – Josey News

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