Top Health Official In Court Over US$800 000 Covid-19 Funds Theft

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By Mary Taruvinga

PORTIA Manangazira, the director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Health Ministry of Health has been hauled to court on allegations of diverting close to US$800 000 Covid-19 funds to personal use.

She appeared before Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande who remanded her in custody to Tuesday for bail application.

Prosecutors say she misappropriated funds and fuel meant for training 800 community health workers who were to raise awareness on Covid-19 in the country.

She is being represented by Harrison Nkomo represented Manangazira while Lancelot Mutsokoti and Ephraim Zinyandu appeared for the State.

Last year, then-Health Minister Obadiah Moyo was dismissed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after being implicated in a US$60 million scandal involving the purchase of Covid-19 material.

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 35,862 Covid-19 cases and 1,441 deaths, with recoveries exceeding 32,216.

Last week, it launched its vaccination drive by inoculating healthcare workers in the first phase.

Over 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China are being used in the first phase of the campaign, which is mainly targeting people over 60, front-line government workers, and vulnerable groups.