VICE-PRESIDENT Retired General Constantino Chiwenga has bemoaned corruption at the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm) which he said is to blame for non-availability of affordable medicines for ailments such as diabetes and cancer.

VP Chiwenga who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said the country was losing millions of dollars as a result of shady import deals like what is happening at NatPharm.

He said there was rampant corruption in the handling of tenders for the importation of essential drugs thereby prejudicing the country of millions of dollars.

Addressing guests at the belated World Diabetes Day commemorations in Gweru on Thursday, VP Chiwenga said the health ministry was working to put an end to corruption at NatPharm and other institutions. He said the country was losing millions of dollars through importing drugs, some of which could be manufactured locally. It is encouraging that Government leaders at various levels are committing themselves to fighting corruption and this is as it should be.

What is happening at NatPharm is common at most State enterprises hence many executives that have been appointed to run these enterprises have become filthy rich overnight and are mainly to blame for the poor performance of these enterprises.

Government has dismissed many of these corrupt executives but in most cases the corrective action is taken too late. It is against this background that we call upon Government to move with speed to ensure lifestyle audits are carried out regularly for all public officers.

It is a fact that politicians and executives of public enterprises have been building mansions that cost millions of dollars using ill-gotten wealth.

Lifestyle audits should therefore, put a stop to this as the unjust enrichment can be detected quickly.

Those who work for State enterprises should be men and women of integrity whose conduct both at work and away is beyond reproach.

We want to commend VP Chiwenga who was recently assigned the health ministry portfolio for hitting the ground running in fighting corruption and urge other Government ministries to do the same.