Tuesday, 23 February 2021

HEALTH DIRECTOR EMPLOYED 28 FAMILY MEMBERS

A TOP official in the Health and Child Care ministry, Portia Manangazira appeared in court yesterday charged with criminal abuse of office after she illegally facilitated the recruitment and training of 28 family members as community health workers.

She also allegedly authorised the procurement of goods amounting to US$280 529 without following due process.

Manangazira (52), who is the principal director of epidemiology and disease control, was remanded in custody to today for bail ruling by Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande.

She was represented by Harrison Nkomo.

Former Health minister Obadiah Moyo was also arrested and later fired on corruption charges last year and the matter is still before the courts.

The State alleges that sometime in July last year, Manangazira requested for funding to recruit and train voluntary community workers to assist in raising awareness on COVID-19.

An allocation of US$796 675 was availed by the Africa Centre for Disease Control through the African Field Epidemiology Network,a non-governmental organisation to fund the line items and services meant to be used at training workshops for 800 community health workers.

It is also alleged that between July 2020 and last month, she identified 1 000 health community workers meant to be deployed throughout the country on a COVID-19 awareness campaign, without involving provincial and district medical directors and officers.

The State alleges that the health workers were paid US$600 each for a period of three months and preliminary investigations revealed that 28 of the recruits were related to Manangazira.

It is also alleged that between July 16, 2020 and last month, Manangazira acted unlawfully and contrary to or inconsistent with her duties as a public officer and authorised the procurement of goods and services amounting to US$280 529 without following due processes after she showed favour to selected suppliers.

Manangazira is also accused of sanctioning the payment of facilitation fees amounting to US$8 835 to undeserving Health ministry staff.

She also faces another charge of authorising the issuance of 3 290 litres of fuel coupons to privately-owned vehicles not registered with the ministry.

Lancelot Mutsokoti appeared for the State. Newsday

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