By Austin Karonga

A HARARE man found himself in trouble after he was found in possession of Covid-19 test kits believed to have been stolen. 

Leon Chipepera was charged with allegations of being in possession of property believed to have been stolen and smuggling. 

The court heard that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) received a report that Covid-19 test kits were being stolen from government hospitals and the National Pharmaceuticals Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) and were being sold on the parallel market. 

These test kits are procured by the government or donated to the country to provide free tests for Covid-19.

Private health institutions can also procure the same kits through registered local distributors such as Zundine Trading and Medsure. 

It is the State’s case that on June 7, a team from Zacc intercepted Chipepera in Harare selling 20 boxes of Standard Q Covid-19 test kits containing 500 tests. 

Allegations are that Zacc officers established that he was not a registered distributor of these test kits and had not procured them from any registered local distributor.

Upon being questioned, Chipepera failed to provide the source from where he obtained the test kits, prompting a further probe leading to the recovery of another consignment of 32 boxes of Abbott Covid-19 tests kits containing 800 tests from his house, which he again failed to explain their source. 

In another case by Zacc, Deposit Protection Corporation former chief executive Vusilizwe Vuma also appeared in court accused of abuse of office by including his wife on a business trip to Turkey on the firm’s budget.  He allegedly acquired money for airfares and a visa for her despite not being an employee of the firm.

He was also accused of taking his children on holiday to Dubai, prejudicing his employer of over US$7 000. He was freed on US$10 000 bail and remanded to August 17.

“The Accused screamed out in pain. That is when they took a sack over the accused’s head and someone stood on his neck,” Coltart submitted.