Zimbabwe official on trial for embezzling virus funds

Source: Zimbabwe official on trial for embezzling virus funds

Separately, last year health minister was sacked for fraud in purchase of COVID-19 material

Zimbabwe official on trial for embezzling virus fundsFile Photo

A senior health official in Zimbabwe was arraigned on Monday before a court for misappropriating funds to fight coronavirus.

Portia Manangazira, the director of epidemiology and disease control, faced four counts of criminal abuse of office when she appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Bianca Makwande.

The government funds allegedly looted by Manangazira, together with the fuel, were said to be part of the $796,675 disbursed by the Health Ministry for the training of 800 health workers nationwide amid the rollout of a national vaccination program. Manangazira is expected to apply for bail.

Last year, then-Health Minister Obadiah Moyo was dismissed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa after being implicated in a $60 million scandal involving the purchase of COVID-19 material.

A landlocked country in southern Africa, Zimbabwe has so far recorded 35,796 COVID-19 cases and 1,436 deaths, with recoveries exceeding 32,000.

Last week, it launched its vaccination drive by inoculating healthcare workers in the first phase.

Over 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China are being used in the first phase of the campaign, which is mainly targeting people over 60, front-line government workers, and vulnerable groups.