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Zacc grills Minister

TINASHE MAKICHI

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) this week questioned and released Health and Child Care Deputy Minister John Mangwiro over his alleged involvement in corruption cases around the procurement of Covid-19 equipment.

Mangwiro is accused of allegedly arm twisting the National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) to award a US$5.6m tender to Youth Health Care for the supply of Covid-19 laboratory equipment, reagents and consumables.

The anti-graft body this week called Mangwiro for a warned and cautioned statement and the Commission is waiting for certain outstanding vital information on the cases under investigation.

Zacc spokesperson John Makamure confirmed the questioning of the Deputy Minister this week.

“I can confirm he was called in for warned and cautioned statements. The Commission is waiting for certain vital information before finalising the dockets,” Makamure said.

Mangwiro promised to call back with a response but could not do so by last night. There are allegations that Mangwiro threatened to dismiss NatPharm workers if they did not award the tender to Youth Health Care, which was unregistered with the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe at the time the company was hired.

Mangwiro allegedly forcemarched some employees involved in state tender processes to his offices at night and directed them to offer the lucrative tender to the Youth Health Care.

The latest case comes after former Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested for engaging in a US$60m shady deal involving Drax International for the supply of Covid-19 materials without following proper government procedures.

Moyo was later fired as minister. He is out on bail and will stand trial on January 11. According to a report by Zacc, Youth Health Care demanded to be paid in advance and also submitted a tender that was almost equivalent to what was in the health ministry’s coffers.

Youth Health Care is alleged to have whittled its tender from US$5.6m to US$3.6m following inquiries from state officials.

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