Last year Hopewell Chin’ono unearthed the deal between Drax and Natpharm that seemed odd and fraudulent. The revelation led to the arrest of the then Minister of Health Obadiah Moyo and Drax’s local representative Delish Nguwaya. The contract was then abruptly cancelled following public outcry but now the High Court has ruled that the deal between the government (represented by Natpharm) was valid and should not have been cancelled.
According to the state-owned Herald, High Court Judge Justice Webster Chinamora ruled yesterday in favour of Drax finding that the Procurement Regulations Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) had given Natpharm the proper authority to act on the government’s behalf. This is despite the murky nature of the deal that saw Drax charging the government exorbitant amounts of money.
The ruling comes after both Obadiah Moyo and his Drax counterpart were cleared of all charges. The acquittal of the two had the public also howling in outrage calling the whole incident another case of “catch and release.” The moniker refers to the fact that the Zimbabwean government, which prefers to call itself the second republic even though nothing sets it apart from the supposed first republic, has not had a single successful prosecution of a high-level corruption case.
Instead, all of Zimbabwe’s high-level corruption cases have followed a similar path. First, someone unearths a stinking corruption scandal. The government might even deny this at first before the state adopts a tough line with the accused demonised and called all sorts of names in the state media. The accused are arrested before the case falters before the courts. The spectacular way these cases fall apart has led some to believe the government deliberately bungles the prosecution. In the Drax case, parallels can be drawn with the Chivayo case. This is because both the accused in these cases even went on to sue the government over their obviously corrupt contracts and still managed to win as the state put up an anaemic case.