Government has opened investigations into circumstances surrounding a botched US$100 million deal to supply the country’s referral hospitals with modern equipment.
Although Government continues to make payments, the bulk of the equipment — secured through a deal brokered by the former President Robert Mugabe-led administration — was never delivered.
Health and Childcare Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo confirmed to The Sunday Mail that investigations were underway.
“Yes, we want to know, through the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu), exactly what happened (in the US$100 million deal),” he said in a terse response.
Sacu is a unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Head of the corruption-busting body Mr Tabani Mpofu said the unit would rope in other law-enforcement bodies as the scope of the probe could broaden to include procurement deals in public hospitals.
“The Minister of Health (and Child Care) Dr Moyo has indeed contacted the Special Anti-Corruption Unit and we are in the process of constructing an action plan on the information he has provided,” he said.
“I cannot divulge the nature of the information provided to the unit as it has to be passed to various law-enforcement agencies for a full investigation, but I can confirm, in light of information received, remedial action will be taken.”
Separately, Sacu also said it had taken a keen interest into the latest report by the Auditor-General and will accordingly institute investigations where the need arises.
“As we have indicated before, the Special Anti-Corruption Unit has taken interest in the Auditor-General’s report and the process of taking corrective measures where necessary is well underway. The public will be made aware of these in due course,” said Mr Mpofu.
In order to deal with the urgent situation in public hospitals, Treasury has since released US$1 million, which will be used for both medicines and equipment.
However, Dr Moyo emphasised the need for hospitals to liaise and consult before making any purchases.
“We are going to solve quite a lot of issues as a result of working together as a team. My office is open to everyone — health workers, clients and patients and anyone can come and present their problems,” he told senior doctors during a meeting at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals last week.
Government has also made arrangements with a company to pay for medicines and surgical supplies in RTGS dollars.
“From the meeting, we asked the doctors to go to NatPharm to assist with the adjudication. The company has a lot of products and once we have finalised the arrangement, we will announce the items and quantities that will have been delivered to NatPharm,” he said.