Zimbabwe health minister arrested over coronavirus supplies scandal

Obadiah Moyo. (Jekesai Njikizana / AFP)
Obadiah Moyo. (Jekesai Njikizana / AFP)

Zimbabwe's health minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested on Friday for alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the anti-graft agency said.

He was being held at a Harare police station and is likely to appear in court on Saturday.

"I can confirm that the minister of health and child welfare has been arrested and is being detained at Rhodesville police station," John Makamure, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, told AFP.

"It's to do with the procurement of Covid-19 materials," he added.

The government did not immediately comment on the arrest, which came a day after the country's main opposition condemned alleged state corruption following suspicions over a $2-million-dollar payment to a medical company contracted to provide anti-coronavirus equipment.

Harare has come under fire for granting two-month-old company Drax Consult SAGL a contract to supply $20 million worth of drugs, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits.

The deal was allegedly signed without the legal consent of Zimbabwe's procurement registration authority.

In March, authorities in Hungary - where Drax Consult SAGL is registered - flagged a suspicious $2 million deposit into the company's accounts, drawing anger from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Local media reported last week the arrest of businessman Delish Nguwaya, believed to be Drax's local representative, in connection with the same case.

Government last week ordered the cancellation of all contracts for the supply of medicines and sundries by Drax, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.

The country has detected 479 virus cases, including four deaths, although that figure is believed to be underestimated due to a lack of testing.

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