DRAX International represantative Delish Nguwaya, who has been languishing in remand prison for the past three weeks over allegations of defrauding the government in a US$60 million drugs supplying deal, was today granted ZW$50 000 bail by High Court Judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda.
As part of his bail conditions, Nguwaya was ordered to reside at 148 Sandton, Mt Hampden, Harare until his trial is concluded, not interfere with State witnesses, to surrender all his travel documents to the Clerk of court at Harare Magistrates Court.
He was also to provide surety in the form of his immovable property ordinarily known as 148 Mt Hampden, Harare and the Title Deed duly registered in his name.
In his ruling, Justice Kwenda said Nguwaya was just a businessman who was not part of the procurement process undertaken by the government officials involved.
“…In that event, the procurement may have been tainted. It is such deception or conduct short of the transparency required in administering public funds which would be of concern to the Anti-Corruption Court. The duty to safeguard public funds and property is bestowed on government agencies or employees.
“However, the appellant (Nguwaya) had no role to play in that apparent deception or in administration of public funds. The appellant was not part of the procurement process undertaken by the State officials.
“The appellant is charged with fraud and its seriousness should be assessed based on the extent of the alleged potential or actual prejudice occasioned by the misrepresentation attributed to him,” he ruled.
According to the State Nguwaya misrepresented that the Drax Consult Sagl and Drax International LLC were medicine manufacturers thereby luring government officials to contract his companies.
However, Justice Kwenda said exaggerated marketing or business talk in a way was misrepresentation, but a person who engages in exaggerated business talk would only be guilty of fraud if the other party acted on the misrepresentation to his or her or its prejudice.
“It is not the State’s case that the appellant actions caused financial prejudice. If there was any other form of deception which resulted in financial prejudice, then that could only have been as a result of a flawed procurement process. The appellant is not a State official.
“The fact that the medicines were overpriced should have been picked by the State officials during due diligence or a competitive bidding process,” he said.
“The financial prejudice ensuing from lack of diligence cannot be blamed on the appellant but, perhaps, on the persons who procured on behalf of the State. This court and the court a quo have no authority to prosecute or investigate crime.
He said it was up to the Prosecutor General to direct the ZRP to investigate or the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate any other anomalies that may be affecting the procurement.