HARARE – The Zimbabwe government is funnelling US$60 million to a company linked to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s son, Collins, in a murky coronavirus drugs deal, online tabloid ZimLive reported Monday.
A little-known company called Drax Consult SAGL, which is registered in international tax haven, Switzerland, and represented in Zimbabwe by Delish Nguwaya (pictured), has been supplying drugs to the NatPharm, the government drugs firm, in a separate US$22.5 million arrangement since September last year.
Nguwaya, a business partner of Mnangagwa’s son, Collins, has a colourful criminal past – including multiple arrests for armed robbery, cocaine possession and extortion.
Nguwaya on April 8 appeared at a State House event with Mnangagwa, where he donated drugs worth US$200,000 in response to government appeals following the coronavirus outbreak.
At the event, Nguwaya announced a “US$60 million drug supply deal” with the government through NatPharm, according to the state news agency, Ziana.
It has since been established that Nguwaya and his associates were already supplying NatPharm with drugs since last year.
In January this year, the finance ministry’s permanent secretary George Guvamatanga said Drax had delivered drugs worth US$2.5 million, and they were in talks to supply more drugs and equipment to the tune of US$20 million.
Discussing that arrangement, Guvamatanga said: “The new dispensation (Mnangagwa regime) is comprised of people with commercial experience” allowing “products or services to come into the country on certain terms.”
The supply deal with NatPharm did not go to tender.
Health minister Obadiah Moyo declined to answer questions on their dealings with Drax Consult SAGL, and specifically whether President Mnangagwa was milking coronavirus funds through his son. Nguwaya denied his deals with the government were corrupt.
“This is the work of my enemies,” Nguwaya insisted, adding that his company was in fact loaning money to NatPharm.
He described Collins Mnangagwa as his “brother” but denied they were business partners, although sources maintain they are both involved in murky deals with government departments, including getting paid millions of dollars to import grain.
Over the last decade, Nguwaya has been in and out of court facing a string of criminal charges raising questions as to why government is doing business with him.
Nguwaya, styling himself as a police officer and a sometimes informer for Zimbabwe’s intelligence services, has landed in court over half a dozen times accused of a range of criminal activities.
Arriving in Harare from Gokwe where he grew up, he is known to have enlisted for the police constabulary and was attached to Mabelreign police post.
His criminal instincts soon took over, however. In July 2012, a couple were driving on the Harare-Bulawayo Road and at a traffic-controlled intersection at the Warren Park offramp, Nguwaya allegedly pulled up next to them in his BMW.
A court heard he accused the man who was driving with his wife of side-swiping his car before moving to block the road with his vehicle. Shortly after, a police officer from Mabelreign arrived at the scene and parked behind the terrified couple’s vehicle, boxing them in.
Nguwaya and his police colleague were alleged to have snatched a handbag containing US$2,500 and valuables worth US$255 at gunpoint before jumping into their vehicles and driving off at speed towards Kuwadzana. The couple later withdrew the charges, allegedly after receiving threats.
In April 2013, Nguwaya was charged alongside two police officers and another man accused of extorting US$6,000 from Valley Fresh Shop in Strathaven, Harare.
Posing as detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department, they had accused the company of smuggling a truckload of fruits and vegetables from South Africa and demanded to be paid to call off the investigation.
Four years later, in March 2017, he was prosecuted for extortion, possession of cocaine and contravening the Medicines and Allied Substances Control Act after being found in possession of a prescription drug, sildenafil, which is sold under the brand name Viagra.
Nguwaya had extorted US$15,000 from one Bruce Michael Blake, who was forced to part with the money after Nguwaya told him he was under investigation for spying, while promising he could make the charges go away.
In June 2017, he admitted conspiring with three Central Intelligence Organisation agents and a police officer to extort US$20,000 from Baoning Guo, a Chinese national – ZimLive
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