Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
FOUNDER and executive chairman of Econet Group Mr Strive Masiyiwa has taken a swipe at some suppliers of hygiene products like gloves for taking advantage of the cholera outbreak to inflate prices.
In a tweet yesterday, Mr Masiyiwa said following a public announcement by his company that it had earmarked $10 million to assist the Government in containing the cholera outbreak that has so far killed 30 people and affected over 5 000 others, suppliers and local authority officials inflated prices by over 1 000 percent.
“One of the saddest things that happened last week when Econet announced that it had set aside $10m to help with support to buy medicines and materials, was the number of suppliers and even officials in some of the affected municipalities who tried to defraud our company by offering things at highly inflated prices!
“Gloves worth $3, were
suddenly worth $65. That is just so pathetic!,” he said.
Mr Masiiwa said his company will name and shame the culprits once the outbreak has been contained.
“I have told my people to prepare lists of anyone who wilfully tries to exploit the situation. After this crisis is over we will go after them on this platform. Naming and shaming them,” he said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said he was informed of the sad development by officials in his ministry and corrective action had since been taken.
Minister Moyo said the anomaly was noted by some officials who sit in the procurement boards who then advised relevant officials that the prices were inflated.
“Resource mobilisation is the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance who ensure that a monitorable and auditable system is put in place.
“This anomaly was actually detected by one of our officials who sits in the procurement board and corrective measures have since been taken,” said Minister Moyo.
He said Government does not condone profiteering at the expense of human life.
The City of Harare responded by suspending officials implicated in the scandal.
Responding to concerns raised by Mr Masiiwa, council posted on its twitter handle: “Harare acting town clerk engineer Hosiah Chisango this morning suspended some officials suspected of inflating prices for goods and services to be used in the fight against cholera.
“Eng Chisango has since informed Mayor Cllr Herbert Gomba and relevant stakeholders.”
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said Econet, through Higher Life Foundation, had set aside $10 million to assist Government with necessary requirements in combatting cholera and typhoid.
He said through this assistance, Government was going to receive products for use in the fight against cholera fight and not cash.
Dr Moyo criticised those taking advantage of the cholera outbreak to profiteer.
“We cannot take advantage of a situation of this nature. Whoever is doing it is not with us. People must not take advantage of the situation. We must be able to benefit the maximum from the support that is coming through,” said Dr Moyo.