Delish Nguwaya’s bid for freedom collapsed on Tuesday morning as his application for bail was dismissed by a Harare Magistrate on the basis that he is likely to abscond or interfere with State witnesses.
BY CHARLES LAITON
Nguwaya was arrested last Friday on accusations of lying to the government that his company Drax International, also known, as Drax Consult SAGL was a medical firm in a bid to be awarded tenders for Covid-19 supplies to the Health Ministry.
Through his lawyers Tafadzwa Hungwe, Admire Rubaya and Ashiel Mugiya, Nguwaya made an application to be remanded out of custody pending trial, but provincial magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti denied him freedom saying he is not a proper candidate for bail.
Muchuchuti’s determination came about after the State opposed his application on the basis that he is facing a very serious offence and is likely to flee the country’s jurisdiction if remanded out of custody.
The State also claims that the controversial deal generated a lot of interest and bad publicity making it improper to release him before trial.
Hungwe said: “We are going to appeal to the High Court against the refusal by the court to grant him bail.”
It is the State’s allegations that Nguwaya lied that Drax International was a Switzerland based medical firm whereas it was later established that it was a consulting company with no experience in the manufacturing of medicines.
The State further alleges that acting on the said misrepresentation, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo, authorised a US$2 million medicine supply deal through NatPharm.
Again Nguwaya is alleged to have done the same using a different company and won another deal to supply medical equipment worth US$40 million.
However, the matter came to light when notable variances were discovered on prices charged by the companies to those prevailing on the market.
In his defence while making his bail application, Nguwaya’s lawyers said Drax International never misrepresented that it was a manufacturing company but that it could only supply. The lawyers also said the Ministry of Health requested for due diligence to be done by Treasury and this was done.
“Treasury through permanent secretary (George) Guvamatanga gave the green light for NatPharm to deal with Drax. The agreement was entered into because Guvamatanga approved it,” Nguwaya’s lawyer said adding: “Nguwaya never wrote any letter. He doesn’t control procurement processes in government. Nguwaya signed the agreement as a witness, not a party. Drax delivered and the US$2million payment was for things already delivered.”