Nepotism lands ex-cabinet Minister in the dock

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa Thursday landed in the dock after he allegedly favoured a suspected relative with a top position at National Pharmaceutical Company (Natpharm) while dismissing a duly appointed director.

Parirenyatwa is said to have appointed his relative, Newman Madzikwa by imposing him in an acting capacity in place of Flora Nancy Sifeku, who was the parastatal’s substantive managing director.

Madzikwa was once employed by Natpharm as branch manager Masvingo and was dismissed on September 3, 2009 for allegedly selling donated drugs to private institutions.

The details were revealed when Parirenyatwa appeared before Harare magistrate Elisha Singano who released him on $500 bail coupled with stringent reporting conditions which will see him reporting twice a week at the police.

He was also ordered to surrender his passport, to continue residing at his Borrowdale home and not to interfere with witnesses until his case was finalised.

Prosecutor Michael Reza had suggested $1 000 bail but court ruled the figure was unnecessarily too high.

The complaint is the state being represented by Detective Assistant Inspector Nyahema who is also investigating officer of the matter.

According to the state, on 04 June 2018, Parirenyatwa acted contrary and inconsistent with his duties as a public officer by directing Natpharm Board Chairman, George Washaya to end Sifeku’s contract with Natpharm as the Managing Director thereby showing disfavour to her.

The former minister further indicated that he required Sifeku’s services at his ministry which he headed since 2013 until he was dropped from cabinet last week.

Sifeku was given an indefinite period to serve in the ministry.
In the same directive, Parirenyatwa showed favour to Madzikwa by imposing him as the acting managing director Natpharm with effect from 01 June 2018.

The board implemented a directive by giving both Sifeku and Madzikwa six months contracts effectively from 1 June 2018 to 30 November 2018.

Parirenyatwa’s actions created a double dipping of Natpharm funds as Natpharm is paying two salaries towards the managing directors’ position.

State alleges he prejudiced Natpharm of $15 003 and $15 003 potentially.

The offence came to light through a tip-off two days ago leading to the arrest of accused.

Reza said Parirenyatwa’s actions were prejudicial to the good administration of Natpharm and the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Parirenyatwa is expected back in court on October 26 pending his trial.