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Zimbabwe Deputy Minister in Alleged US$5,6 Million COVID-19 Equipment Purchase Scam


Deputy Health Minister, Dr. John Mangwiro, allegedly arm-twisted the National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) to award a US$5,6 million tender to Youth Health Care for the supply of COVID-19 laboratory equipment, reagents and consumables, according to the state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper.

The newspaper says Mangwiro allegedly 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.

Dr. Mangwiro allegedly force-marched 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 newspaper reports that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Corruption is now investigating the issue, with possibilities that Dr. Mangwiro would be arrested within the next few days like his former boss, former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, who was netted for engaging in a $60 million shady deal involving Drax International for the supply of COVID-19 materials without following proper government procedures.

Dr. Moyo is out of custody on ZWL50,000 bail.

The Sunday Mail reports that 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 whittled its tender from US$5,6 million to US$3,6 million following inquiries from state officials, reports the Sunday Mail.

Mangwiro and ZACC officials were not available for comment as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.

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