BULAWAYO – The government has cancelled corrupt procurement deals worth up to US$60 million signed with a company linked to one of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s sons.
The cancellation follows a ZimLive investigation which exposed how the government had awarded procurement contracts to politically-connected companies not listed on the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) register.
One of those companies, Drax International, which also trades as Drax Consult SAGL, was given contracts of US$20 million and US$40 million to supply medical equipment and drugs. The company is registered in Dubai and Switzerland, with a sole shareholder – Ilir Dedja, an Alabanian-born Italian national.
Following a public outcry which has spooked international donors, the health ministry has now directed the state-owned National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) to terminate “all” existing contracts with Drax.
Acting health ministry secretary Dr Gibson Mhlanga, in a June 5 letter to NatPharm, wrote: “You are being directed to cancel ALL contracts that you had with Drax SAGL with immediate effect. Please be advised that this process needs to be completed by latest Friday, June 12, 2020, and all documentation showing cancellation of the same to be submitted in my office by then.”
Mhlanga, who did not provide reasons for the cancellation of the contracts, said NatPharm should “treat this issue with the urgency that it requires.”
ZimLive began its investigation into Drax International in April when the company’s Zimbabwe representative Delish Nguwaya appeared at State House where he donated coronavirus test kits before announcing that his company would be supplying medical equipment and drugs worth US$60 million to Zimbabwe.
Neither Drax International nor Drax Consult SAGL are on the 2020 register of approved government suppliers kept at PRAZ.
We were handed leaked invoices and other documents showing how Drax had overpriced goods on a US$1 million invoice sent to NatPharm. The health ministry was forced to negotiate the invoice down to US$600,000.
It is unclear how much of the US$60 million had already been paid to Drax before the cancellation of the contracts.
It emerged that Nguwaya, a convicted criminal who has stood trial for extortion, drugs possession and armed robbery, is a business associate of Mnangagwa’s twin son, Collins.
Nguwaya denies a business partnership with Mnangagwa’s son. Collins, meanwhile, issued a statement denying even a social relationship with Nguwaya.
We have been handed pictures, however, showing Collins and Nguwaya shopping for luxury cars in Dubai and attending state functions together.
We also investigated another company, Jaji Investments, which is registered in Namibia. The company was handpicked by health minister Obadiah Moyo to supply coronavirus test kits. The company was paid in excess of US$112,000 since March.
Jaji Investments is owned by Garikai Prince Mushininga, who has met Mnangagwa at least twice. The company’s Zimbabwe representative is Valdano Brown, the president’s nephew and chief bodyguard.
The revelations of rampant looting by his children and associates have embarrassed Mnangagwa, whose loyalists have threatened journalists for exposing the corruption.
But not all have taken a defensive posture. Vice President Kembo Mohadi, head of a ministerial taskforce on Covid-19, was so shocked by the revelations he wrote a letter to officials in which he said: “The government is being short-changed and spending a lot of resources benefiting unscrupulous businesspeople and companies.”