Govt cancels Drax International supply contract

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

GOVERNMENT has moved to cancel all its contracts with controversial Swiss medicine supplier Drax International.

The company, fronted by dodgy businessman Delish Nguwaya, was awarded contracts to supply medicines and surgical sundries worth US$60 million without going to tender.

Drax has also been linked to Collins, son of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In a letter to National Pharmaceutical Company (NatPharm) managing director, Flora Sifeku, permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry George Guvamatanga said the cancellation is with immediate effect.

“You are directed to cancel contracts that you had with Drax SAGL with immediate effect,” Guvamatanga wrote in his letter.

“Please be advised that this process needs to be completed by latest Friday 12th June 2020 and all documentation showing cancellation of the same to be submitted in my office by then.

“Please treat this issue with the urgency that it requires.”

The medical supply company became known to Zimbabweans recently after it emerged it was favoured with tenders to supply medicines to local hospitals through government.

Last month, Treasury was placed under pressure by the Health Ministry to pay Drax SAGL so it could release Covid-19 test kits, which were being held at Robert Gabriel International airport for non-payment.

This was after Treasury had refused to pay for the goods after questioning the high prices that had been quoted.

For example, the company was supplying NP95 face masks at US$28 when the average cost for the product was US$4.

The goods were later released after government said there was urgent need for tests kits in the country.

Drax International LLC was established and registered in 2020 and its main office is said to be in Fujairah United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It is among 30 suppliers of medical drugs and consumables approved by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ).

Questions were raised over its profile after the company produced inflated prices but the firm produced a statement bearing UAE address and a website that does not show who its directors were.

Collins Mnangagwa also issued a statement on the same day distancing himself from the company.