By Mary Taruvinga
CONTROVERSIAL businessman Delish Nguwaya, facing fraud charges, will languish in remand prison after he was denied bail by Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti.
Muchuchuti ruled Nguwaya is facing a very serious offence likely to attract a lengthy custodial sentence if convicted and reason which may force him to flee the country.
She also said the fraud case had attracted public outcry and people will lose confidence in the justice system if he is let out on bail although it is now a constitutional right.
“The accused is likely to interfere with witnesses if granted bail and is likely to re-offend,” said the magistrate before remanding him to June 30 for his routine remand.
Nguwaya was arrested Friday and is accused of lying to government that his company was a medical firm in a bid to be awarded tenders for Covid-19 medical supplies to the Health Ministry using his companies Drax SAGL and Drax International.
The State alleges Nguwaya lied Drax was based in Switzerland, but it was only a consulting company with no experience in the manufacturing of medicines.
Acting on this misrepresentation, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo authorised a US$2 million medicine supply deal through NatPharm.
Nguwaya allegedly did the same using a company Drax International and won a supply deal worth US$40 million.
The matter came to light after a notable variance on prices charged by the companies to those prevailing on the market.
He is being represented by his lawyers, Admire Rubaya, Tafadzwa Hungwe, and Ashiel Mugiya and denies all the charges.
One of the lawyers, Rubaya said there was no fraud involved.
“Drax never represented that they were manufacturers but said they could supply. The ministry asked for due diligence to be done by Treasury,” he said.
“Treasury through permanent secretary (George) Guvamatanga gave the green light for NatPharm to deal with Drax. The agreement was entered into because Guvamatanga approved it.
“Nguwaya never wrote any letter. He doesn’t control procurement processes in government. Nguwaya signed the agreement as a witness, not a party. Drax delivered and the US$2million payment was for things already delivered.”
The lawyers also argued that the State cannot allege that there was a misrepresentation of facts since all documents tendered in court showed that Drax International, also known, as Drax Consult SAGL never undertook to be manufacturers of pharmaceuticals.