Wednesday, 8 July 2020

DON'T BLAME NGUWAYA : JUDGE


HIGH Court judge Pisirai Kwenda yesterday questioned how Drax International, at the centre of the alleged US$60 million Covid-19 provisions scam, through its representative  Delish Nguwaya, pictured, could have prejudiced the State when he is not a government employee. 

In his ruling granting bail to Nguwaya, Kwenda said the Drax representative could not be blamed for any financial prejudice suffered by the State in the drugs procurement deals. 

Kwenda also queried why the State never said anything about the manner in which the government deliberately flouted procurement procedures in the controversial US$60 million drugs deal, which has also seen the arrest of Health minister Obadiah Moyo. Moyo is out of custody on $50 000 bail.
  
“If there was any other form of deception which resulted in financial prejudice, then that could only have been as a result of a flawed procurement process. The appellant is not a State official,” Kwenda said, granting Nguwaya $50 00 bail with stringent conditions. 

“The fact that the medicines were overpriced should have been picked by the State officials during the due diligence process or competitive bidding process.  The financial prejudice ensuing from lack of due diligence cannot be blamed on the appellant but, perhaps, on the person who procured on behalf of the State.”
  
Nguwaya was ordered to surrender title deeds to his house, his passport and not to interfere with witnesses.

 Allegations are 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 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 Moyo. It is 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. 

The State insisted Nguwaya is facing a serious offence which would induce him to flee, but Kwenda did not agree with the findings of the lower court. He ruled the court had misdirected itself in denying Nguwaya bail based on the claim. 

“The court a quo, therefore, misdirected itself in concluding that the crime as charged is serious and was likely to induce the appellant to flee because the specific criminal conduct ascribed to the appellant is unlikely to attract a sentence which will give him a reason to flee,” Kwenda said.

Nguwaya, represented by Tafadzwa Hungwe and Ashiel Mugiya, had argued that there was no wrongdoing on his part. Daily News

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