It wasn’t me: Finance ministry secretary George Guvamatanga has absolved himself from the Covidgate scandal
- Guvamatanga says he wrote several correspondences redflagging the deal
- President’s office officials say Drax failed security checks
- Line ministry (Health Ministry) has final say
MINISTRY of Finance and Economic Development Secretary George Guvamatanga has this week absolved himself from any wrongdoing in the controversial procurement of COVID-19 medical supplies from Swiss based company Drax SAGL, Zim Morning Post can reveal.
Gasp: Who did it ?
HE implicated higher offices with special emphasis on top Health ministry authorities and some directors in the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
This publication has it on good authority that when Guvamatanga was summoned by police and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) this week, he explained that his hands were tied and he only acted within his ministry’s statutory duties that requires consultation with relevant security authorities before he approved payment.
“Guvamatanga made it clear that he was a mere civil servant with a limited mandate especially with matters within the jurisdiction of the Special Oversight Procurement Committee (SPOC) which deals which such purchases.
“He said he conducted due diligence and sent several correspondences to CIO and copied the line minister Obadiah Moyo.
“In his due diligence report, Guvamatanga raised concerns on the pricing and whether the payment added value to the country and also raised a stink on the capacity and track record of Drax since it was an international company with a sole local proxy in the person of Delish Nguwaya.
“He also noted that it is not the role of Treasury to make requisitions on behalf of line ministries,“revealed our highly placed source.
Drax failed security checks
The source added that the response to Guvamatanga’s due diligence report was made by the CIO Deputy Director General (DDG).
Investigations made by Zim Morning Post established that this development was out of order since the onus of signing off due diligence reports lies with the Director-General (DG).
Investigations further established that there was interference by Health minister Obadiah Moyo who went on to award the contract without security clearance , Nguwaya failed to coerce the DG on two occasions.
“Due diligence reports are signed off by the DG and they are scrutinised by three different divisions and on this case they failed twice and Delish (Nguwaya) even came but the DG refused to budge in, Obadiah (Moyo) acted without following due process,” revealed another source within the CIO.
PRAZ says it had no role
Zim Morning Post ‘interrogated’ an insider at the Procurement Regulatory Authority (PRAZ), who made it clear that the PRAZ board has no jurisdiction in procurement processes but they are simply mandated to be regulators.
“Drax issue was handled by the SPOC and that’s the arm the body that deals with procurements.
“Praz board do not getting involved for purposes of good governance, we are a regulator not a procurement board,” explained the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The complexity of circumstances surrounding the Drax SAGL contract (number NAT DP 04/2020), has resulted in a lot of mudslinging and sacrificial lambs after a public outcry at the massive rot.
It appears Guvamatanga is a victim of the signature he appended representing Treasury.
Health ministry in charge
The Health ministry wasresponsiblefor raising ordersand correspondence regarding the contract had Moyo’s recommendations and blessings despite of his full knowledge that Drax had failed security checks.
Facts are that Drax SAGL entered into an agreement with Government for the supply and delivery of medicines and consumables worth US$20 million.
The drugs started coming into the country at the beginning of the year in batches.
Later this year, Drax SAGL was awarded an additional tender to provide Covid-19 supplies and was subsequently given preferential treatment for the release of its Covid-19 emergency medical supplies that were stuck at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
Government exclusively lifted the suspension of Protective Clothing Equipment procurement and ordered the release of the ‘special’ consignment with inflated prices ballooning to almost US$1 million.
Before the cancellation of the contract, government was obliged to pay a total of US$987 720 in respects of face masks, test kits and overalls.
Documents show that government was due to fork out US$ 90 per overall with 3 740 units having been supplied and totalling to US$336 600 as compared to a maximum price of US$20 per overall being charged locally.
The highest price for a test kit locally is going for US$ 15 after a rigorous price comparison in Harare, yet government had been charged a staggering US$34 for 15 000 units totalling to US$510 000.
According to the document, face masks (N-95) were charged US$28, yet local prices for a similar product range from between US$2 to US$5.
The maximum possible price from local suppliers stands at US$325 000.-Zimmorningpost