Zimbabwe’s health minister arraigned for stealing $20m COVID-19 Fund
Zimbabwe’s Health Minister, Obadiah Moyo, was arrested on Friday after the government came under pressure from the opposition and on social media over a scandal surrounding the procurement of coronavirus tests and equipment.
He faces corruption charges related to a $20m (£16m) contract awarded to a Hungary-registered firm, allegedly without going through proper processes.
The government has not commented.
My Moyo is the second minister in Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet to face corruption charges.
He arrived in court in a state-issued luxury car accompanied by aides, the BBC’s Harare correspondent Shingai Nyoka says.
During the hearing, he was charged with several counts of criminal abuse of office and ordered to surrender his passport. He is expected to appear in court again by the end of July.
According to local media, prosecutors had initially opposed Moyo’s release but later agreed that he be granted bail.
The deal with two-month old firm Drax Consult is alleged to have been completed without the legal consent of Zimbabwe’s procurement registration authority.
The opposition has also expressed concern about a $2m payment to Drax Consult. The payment was flagged as suspicious by Hungarian authorities in March.
Last week businessman Delish Nguwaya, who is believed to be Drax’s representative in Zimbabwe, was arrested in connection with the case.
It is rare for cabinet ministers to be arrested here. A government spokesperson described this arrest as a reflection of government’s commitment to fighting corruption, adding that no one is immune from prosecution.
But it is too early to celebrate victory.