Health Minister Charged With Corruption Over COVID-19 Test Kit

Zimbabwe’s health minister was Saturday charged with corruption related to the irregular awarding of a big contract to a new Dubai-based company for coronavirus testing and protective kits.

Obadiah Moyo, 66, was arrested Friday night following investigations brought by the country’s anti-graft commission, which accused him of criminal abuse of office in connection with the multi-million-dollar contract.

A magistrates’ court required him to pay bail of just ZW$50,000 ($2,000).

In all Moyo faces three charges of abuse of office, two of which date back to last year for the supply of general medical equipment to public hospitals.

He was not asked to enter a plea but ordered to return to court on July 31.

In the latest case, he is accused of trying to coerce the treasury to pay for 15,000 coronavirus test kits that were being held at the airport.

Upon inspection, the finance ministry found there were only 3,700 kits by Drax International, a company that had failed to pass minimum government procurement standards.

“The accused acted contrary to or inconsistent with his fiduciary duty,” said magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi.

“The accused’s actions showed favour to Drax,” he added.

Harare has come under fire for granting Drax Consult SAGL, a medical company created just two months ago, a contract to supply personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits.

The deal was allegedly signed without the legal consent of Zimbabwe’s procurement registration authority.

In March, authorities in Hungary where Drax Consult SAGL is registered flagged a suspicious $2 million deposit into the company’s accounts, drawing anger from the opposition Zimbabwe party Movement for Democratic Change.

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