By Mary Taruvinga
CONTROVERSIAL businessman, Delish Nguwaya arrested Friday and charged with fraud, will spend the weekend behind bars after his bail hearing was postponed to Monday.
Nguwaya (36) faces is accused of lying to government that his company was a medical firm in a bid to be awarded tenders under Zimbabwe’s health ministry.
The businessman, linked to President Emmerson Mnangagwa son, Collins, appeared before Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti on Saturday.
Muchuchuti was forced to postpone on the state’s request after the Investigating Officer (IO) in the matter was unable to attend court as he was reportedly engaged with state business.
Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti said the State wanted to lead a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) officer, one Nyachega adding that the case was being investigated by two different departments who should testify during bail hearing.
Delish Nguwaya arrested
Nguwaya’s lawyer Tafadzwa Hungwe insisted that bail hearing should proceed since the IO was present when his client was placed on remand earlier on the same day.
“The IO was fully aware of court directions and decided to excuse himself.
“The prosecutor who handled the case, Mr Chidanire applied for a postponement which was refused.
“He did that in the presence of the IO why then did he choose to leave knowing the case was going to be heard,” Hungwe told the court.
Muchuchuti ruled it was pertinent for the court to clarify to clarify know how the events unfolded.
She said the state reasons were valid because the court wanted to hear evidence from Zacc to give an informed ruling.
According to the state, sometime in 2019, Nguwaya, having connived with one IIir Dedja who is still at large, tendered an expression of interest in the supply of medicines through a US$20 million loan facility under a company called Papi Pharma and it was turned down after a vetting process by the relevant government department.
A short period after Papi Pharma’s expression of interest was turned down, the ministry of Health received another expression of interest from Nguwaya, dated August 22 2019 for a similar US$20 million medical supply facility now under a company called Drax Consult SAGL.
The letter was allegedly addressed to Health minister, Obadiah Moyo.
“The accused person again featured in the Drax Consult SAGL Company in the same manner he had featured in the Papia Pharma documents in an indication that he was basically the same person,” said the state.
Court heard in the expression of interest document the accused persons misrepresented that Drax Consult SAGL was a pharmaceutical company based in Switzerland whereas it was merely a consulting company with experience in the manufacture or supply of drugs and medicinal products.
Acting on the misrepresentation, Moyo initiated a process through his then permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva which involved communication among all the relevant stakeholders which included ministry of health, ministry of Finance, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) and NatPharm culminating into a contract of supply of medicines and medicinal products between NatPharm and Drax Consult SAGL.
During the consultation process and in the furtherance of their criminal enterprise and at the end of November 2019, Nguwaya presented himself before Flora Nancy Sifeku the NatPharm Managing Director where he introduced his accomplice only identified as Dedja as the owner of the Drx Consult SAGL.
According to the state, during the consultation process, several written communication between Nguwaya and the government officials and of particular importance is a letter of acceptance of offer dated October 3 2019.
On December 19 2019, a written contract was eventually made between Drax Consult SAGL, then supplied medicinal, allegedly appended his signature as a country representative for Drax Consult SAGL and Dedja as owner for Drax Consult SAGL.
Having entered the contract through fraudulent means, the two, using Drax Consult SAGIL then supplied medicinal products worth US$2 million to the ministry of Health through NatPharm.
“The accused person’s conduct was unlawful and caused prejudice to good administration to the Zimbabwe Government as the government officials acted on the misrepresentation to process contract papers,” said the state.
On the second count, Nguwaya having been successful on the first count, he tendered another expression of interest to supply medicines worth US$40 million but this time using a slightly different company called Drax International LLC.
Based on the trust from the previous engagement, the government entered into a contract with Drax International LLC for the supply of medicines worth US$40 million.
The matter only came to light after a notable variance on prices charged by Drax International LLC to those prevailing on the market.
Further checks, according to the state, confirmed that Drax International and Drax Consult SAGL were merely consulting companies and not manufacturers of medical drugs.