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Zimbabwean court releases Health Minister on bail

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Zimbabwean Health Minister, Obadiah Moyo, was on Saturday, released on bail by a Zimbabwean court having been arrested the previous day on allegations of corruption regarding a $60 million deal to procure COVID-19 tests and equipment.

The court’s magistrate sitting in Harare, granted Moyo bail for 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($2,000). The bail was not opposed by prosecutors, who are investigating three charges, including an ‘abuse of office’ charge that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Moyo was arrested for his dealings with Drax International LLC and Drax Consult SAGL, companies prosecutors claim were illegally awarded contracts by the health ministry without a competitive tender process.

In a related news, Delish Nguwaya, a local representative of Drax International was arrested as part of the same investigation, last week.

It could be recalled that last July, former tourism minister, Prisca Mupfumira was arraigned for corruption charges, which prosecutors said related to her previous role as labour minister overseeing a $1 billion state pension fund.

Meanwhile, Drax International, headquartered in the United Arab Emirates has denied the allegations.

The company said in an emailed response:
“Most of the articles published on the media are falsehood regarding Drax International LLC. Goods regarding COVID-19 emergency response … have been delivered and no payment has been made by authorities in Zimbabwe.”

Moyo ignored requests by Zimbabwe’s intelligence services, which conducted due diligence on the two firms, to hand over the contracts, according to a charge sheet seen by Reuters. The contracts have since been annulled by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Moyo, who must appear in court again on July 31, is the second minister in Mnangagwa’s cabinet to be arraigned over high-level corruption claims.

Reported by: Fatimah Oyesanmi

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