Health and Child Care minister Dr Obadiah Moyo is alleged to have reversed the Natpharm board’s decision not to renew managing director Nancy Sifeku’s contract since she had reached retirement age.
This iron fist flexed by Moyo resulted in the resignation of the entire Natapharm board in protest and the institution is operating without a board giving Sifeku all the powers as the current managing director.
These details emerged at the Harare Magistrate Court last week Friday in the matter in which former minister David Parirenyatwa is being charged with two counts of abuse of office.
The former board chair, Dr George Washaya told the court that after the cabinet reshuffle which saw Moyo’s appointment as Health minister, Sifeku had been posted to the ministry from Natpharm on basis of incompetence.
She then sought to extend her contract and wrote a letter to the board which turned down her request.
“When Dr Moyo became the minister, Sifeku wrote a letter to the board seeking to renew her contract which was ending on November 30 with the company but because she had already served 12 years with the company instead of 10 which are stipulated and had reached her retirement urge the board refused to accept it,” Washaya said.
“The minister( Moyo )also wanted her to have her tenure extended but the board resolved that it would be best we all resigned, leading to the dissolving of the NatPham board and even up to date, Sifeku has three or four more years on her tab even though she is now over 65 which is the retirement age.
“The board had seen that the way of doing things at NatPham had changed from the time when Dr Parirenyatwa was in office yet we had pledged to do national service for what was best for the country.
“ Sifeku had overturned all the major decisions which were beneficial to the company and country at large and I wanted no part in it,” he told the court.
“Since October 18 to date, the company has been left at the mercy of Sifeku as there is no managing board,” the court heard.
Washaya went on to tell the court that Parirenyatwa had only looked out for the company and country’s best interest.
He speculated that there is possibility of a hidden hand agenda in his (Parirenyatwa)prosecution as he was a good minister.
He said NatPham ought to be investigated.
Deputy chief magistrate Elijah Makomo who is presiding over the matter said he would decide if Washaya’s testimony is truthful.
Parirenyatwa who is represented by Depak Mehta and James Makina is accused of causing double dipping for NatPharm which ended up paying two salaries towards the managing director’s post since Sifeku’s contract was not dissolved.
The State is represented by Brian Vito