Mnangagwa fires Zimbabwe’s health minister after corruption charge

A health worker sanitises the Harare Children's Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, on July 6 2020.
A health worker sanitises the Harare Children's Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, on July 6 2020.
Image: REUTERS/ Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Tuesday he has sacked his health minister, who has been charged with corruption over illegally awarding a $20m  contract for coronavirus testing.

Obadiah Moyo, 66, was arrested in June after an investigation by an anti-corruption commission. He has been released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 31.

Presidential chief secretary Misheck Sibanda said Tuesday that Mnangagwa removed Moyo from office for “conduct inappropriate for a government minister”.

Moyo is accused of illegally awarding the $20m contract to Drax Consult, a Dubai-based company created just months ago, to supply personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits.

After Zimbabwe's opposition condemned the deal, the government cancelled all contracts with the company, according to local media reports.

Moyo also faces charges in two other cases, which date back to last year for the supply of general medical equipment to public hospitals.

The country has officially recorded more than 700 coronavirus cases and nine deaths.

Separately,  11 of  13 striking nurses arrested in Zimbabwe during a protest for higher pay were freed on bail on Tuesday by a court in the capital Harare, their lawyers said.

Police arrested the group during a demonstration held by scores of nurses at Harare Central Hospital on Monday. They   are on strike to demand a raise, saying their pay has been so eroded by inflation that it could no longer meet their basic needs. — AFP, Reuters

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