A Harare Magistrate was left stunned after a State witness brought forward by the State to try and pin former Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa down and prove his guilt in a matter in which he stands as an accused person exonerated him saying he had only looked out for NatPham during his time as minister.
The former Natpham chair, George Pasipanodya who testified in court cleared the former minister’s name saying he only had good intentions for his former employer saying Newman Madzikwa’s employment saying they were delays in acting on drug shortages and he seemed as a more effective option, the court heard.
“The former minister has only done what was good for the company. He sent Newman Madzikwa to act as a managing director after Nancy Sikefu who was in that position delayed to act on the issue of drug shortages in the country. As a board, we did our own independent investigations on the person we were being offered by the ministry and minister on a temporary basis to try and deal with the situation in line with governments 100 day action plan and we found out that with his qualifications and reputation he was the right person Natpharm was looking for,” the court heard.
Pasipanodya cleared the air on the issue of NatPham getting billed twice for the salaries of Madzikwa and Sifeku saying, Madzikwa was not even on the payroll for the six months he was with NatPham. He said Madzikwa only
Parirenyatwa is answering to charges of criminal abuse of office following allegations of giving a directive to apoint Madzikwa as the Natpharm managing director without proper procedure.
Pasipanodya also took time to mention the many favors that Parirenyatwa granted during his time in office to sustain Natpharm and the eminent drug shortages which the country was facing.
He said that the former minister has helped in the building of many warehouses across the nation and helped to secure a $26 million debt for Natpharm. He added that the reason why he gave Madzikwa was that the Natpharm situation was then not normal and it had become a public outcry and a matter of urgency in the country.
Parirentatwa who is represented by James Makina and Advocate Deepak Mehta has long pleaded not guilty indicating that he made all his decisions in compliance with the ministry’s ‘100 day action plan’ and the
Prosecuting Brian Vito alleges that Parirenyatwa on June 4, 2018 ordered NatPharm board chairman, Dr George Washaya, to terminate Flora Nancy Sifeku’s contract as managing director of the Government-owned company saying he required her services at his then Ministry before directing Washaya to appoint Newman Madzikwa as the acting managing director of NatPharm.
The board complied with the
directive resulting in Sifeku and Mr Madzikwa both being given six-month
contracts with effect from June to November 30, 2018. This allegedly resulted
in NatPharm paying two salaries concurrently to Sifeku and Madzikwa for the
managing director’s position, thereby prejudicing the company of $30 000.
Parirenyatwa is out on $500 bail coupled with stringent bail conditions and will
appear on February 12 for continuation of trial.