Police make arrests in US$60m Covid-19 deals 

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A LOCAL representative of a company that is at the centre of a US$60 million coronavirus supplies procurement storm, Delish Nguwaya, appeared in court yesterday, the Daily News on Sunday reports.
The 36-year-old — who represents Drax Consult SAGL and Drax LL, also known as Drax International — is facing two counts of fraud. He was remanded in custody pending his bail application tomorrow.
The State alleges that Nguwaya misrepresented to the government that the two companies were capable of supplying drugs to the country, although they were just mere consulting firms.
He was not asked to plead to the two counts of fraud when he appeared before Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti Guuriro.
The court was told that sometime in 2019, Nguwaya allegedly connived with one Illir Dedja — who is still at large — and tendered an expression of interest in the supply of medicines through a US$20 million facility under a company called Papi Pharma, which was turned down after a vetting process by the relevant government departments.
Later, the ministry of Health and Child Care received another expression of interest from Nguwaya for a similar US$20 million supply facility, but now under a company called Drax Consult SAGL.
The letter was addressed to Health minister Obadiah Moyo.
It was also alleged that in the expression of interest documents, the accused persons misrepresented that Drax Consult SAGL was a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland, whereas it was a consulting company with no experience in the manufacture and supply of medicinal products.
Acting on the misrepresentation, the State alleges, Moyo initiated a process through his then permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva, which involved the Finance ministry, the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) and NatPharm.
The process culminated in a contract of supply of medicinal products between NatPharm and Drax Consult SAGL.
It was also alleged that in November 2019, Nguwaya presented himself before NatPharm managing director Nancy Sifeku and introduced Dedja as the owner of Drax Consult SAGL.
On December 19, 2019, a written contract was eventually agreed between Drax Consult SAGL and NatPharm, which Nguwaya signed as the company’s local representative, with Dedja identified as the owner of the company.
The State says Nguwaya prejudiced the nation, as government officials acted on his misrepresentation to process contract papers.
Further allegations are that after being successful in the first encounter, Nguwaya tendered another expression of interest to supply medicines worth US$40 million — using a slightly different name, Drax International LLC.
Based on trust from the previous engagement, the government allegedly entered into a contract with Drax International LLC, the court was further told.
The misrepresentations are said to     have come to light after a noted vari-                ance on the prices charged by Drax International LLC, vis-à-vis those prevailing on the market.
The issue of Drax has caused a storm in the country, and it has since forced the government to pull the plug on both the US$20 million and US$40 million deals.
Last week, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the police also questioned senior officials at PRAZ, Natpharm and the Finance ministry — as part of their probe into the controversial deals.
And on Thursday, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo was reported to Zacc, which has also since opened a case on him — over Covid-19-related deals.
2 Comments
  1. Fa says

    These are thieves including the Presidium, how can they be misrepresented by an individual when the whole process goes through different stages of approval. Further to that in the first deal why did they not check the price variations before they award the company to supply the goods. In conclusion the presidium is more corrupt than anyone in else in Zimbabwe.How can you say you want to end corruption when you let people right in front of you do corruption without being charged. ZIM WILL NEVER PROSPER IF CORRUPTION IS STILL RAMPANT.

  2. Lewis says

    Arrests?

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