Ex-minister Moyo trial date set

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Blessing Masakadza



GRAFT-ACCUSED former Health minister Obadiah Moyo will now stand trial on January 11 next year on allegations of involvement in a US$60 million Covid-19 supplies tender.

Moyo was arrested in July and is on $50 000 bail. He recently lost a bid to have the bail conditions varied, conditions he described as costly.

His lawyers, however, indicated that they would apply for refusal of further remand if the trial does not commence on that date.

Allegations are that Moyo was in March last year approached by a Papi Pharma LLC Zimbabwe representative, who expressed interest to supply medicines and medical sundries under a US$15 million loan facility.

Moyo is then alleged to have directed former permanent secretary in the ministry, Gerald Gwinji, to process the paper work and award the tender to Papi Pharma LLC.

Gwinji was said to have written to Treasury requesting a due diligence exercise to be carried out on the company, before it could be awarded the contract.

But Moyo reportedly used his weight to block this process.

Gwinji went on to direct Natpharm general manager Nancy Flora Sifeku to proceed with the procurement process before the tender was awarded to Papi Pharma LLC in May last year, even though the due diligence was still pending.

Allegations are that Moyo caused the government a potential prejudice of US$15 million.

It is further alleged that in August last year, Drax Consult SAGL expressed interest in supplying drugs worth US$20 million to the country.

A due diligence exercise was ordered to be carried out on the company and Moyo allegedly exerted pressure on his subordinates to award a tender to 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. Moyo’s conduct caused a potential prejudice of US$17 266 020,” the court heard.

Moyo reportedly caused the country a potential prejudice of US$40 million after causing another contract to be entered between the government and Drax.

Treasury ordered the cancellation of the contract, but Drax supplied Covid-19 test kits valued at US$987 720.

In May, Moyo reportedly gave an instruction to Finance ministry permanent secretary George Guvamatanga to facilitate clearance of the test kits which were held at the airport, after being supplied under the cancelled Drax deal.

Moyo allegedly personally handed over an invoice worth US$987 720 to Guvamatanga in a bid to influence acceptance of test kits procured through the Drax contract.

The former Health minister is said to have claimed that there were

15 000 test kits at the airport, before it was discovered that there were only 3 000.

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