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Mnene corruption case opens

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ONE of the officials accused of engineering corrupt activities at Mnene Mission Hospital in Mberengwa yesterday claimed politicians in the area were behind the charges as the high-profile case kicked off in Gweru.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Mnene Hospital administrator who is facing trial before a Gweru magistrate together with Health ministry employees Richard Dharara and Wilbert Madenga, wants the charges of criminal abuse of office against him and the two withdrawn.

Dharara, a hospital planning and project manager based at the ministry’s Kaguvi Building offices in Harare, and Moyo, are facing three counts of criminal abuse of office.

Wilbert Madenga, a procurement officer based in Harare is facing one count of the same offence.

The three are alleged to have flouted tender procedures and inflated prices of equipment bought by the government on behalf of Mnene Hospital.

However, Moyo argued that he was not a public officer as he was employed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He said the charges against him were concocted by legislators from the district and that he had already been tried in a “public court” following intense publicity of the case.

Moyo claimed he was a junior officer who simply followed instructions from his superiors and questioned why the hospital’s superintendent had not been tried over the matter.

Dharara and Madenga denied the charges arguing Mnene was a private institution with its own financial and procurement procedures, which they could not influence.

But provincial medical director, Milton Chemhuru, a State witness maintained that government funds were involved and the State Procurement Board should have approved the tenders.

Regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire postponed the trial to today where Chemhuru’s cross examination would continue.

Allegations against Moyo and Dharara are that in October 2011, Mnene Hospital sought to buy a ceiling-mounted X-ray machine, mobile X-ray and an X-ray processor.

On October 25 2011, Moyo allegedly wrote a letter to the Health ministry permanent secretary seeking authority to process tenders from United Bulawayo Hospitals and Chitsungo Mission Hospital.

Instead of following laid-down tender procedures, Moyo and Dharara allegedly connived to use the already processed tenders from the two hospitals.

The two bought a mounted X-ray machine for $180 000 and an X-ray processor for $45 000 against market prices of $83 000 and $7 000 respectively.

The deal allegedly benefited Capital Transfer and Food Miles Trading Company, which supplied the equipment. The two firms were reportedly owned by one person.

On February 1 2012, Moyo and Dharara allegedly connived to make a payment of $100 000 to Food Miles for renovations at Mnene ignoring tender procedures.

On November 8 2011, Moyo, Dharara and Madenga, allegedly connived and used an already processed tender from Masvingo Provincial Hospital and bought an autoclave machine for $64 634.

The actual price for the machine was $10 500 and prosecutors said Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda, who owns Harness Investments, benefited from the corrupt deal.

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