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Contract Cancellations and Investigations Related to Bloated Prices for Ventilators and Pandemic Medical Supplies; Calls for Transparency


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These postings were split out from the main Covid-19 topic because there are numerous postings and all related to the governmental acquisition process being misused (or possibly abused).

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Hot seat VP orders report of national crisis umbrella spending

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Carrizo's traditional wide smile is missing

Posted 29/04/2020

Panama Vice President, José Gabriel Carrizo, skirting the edge of a storm that threatens to cloud the image of the presidency reported on Wednesday, April 29 that he has instructed the COVID-19 Purchasing Commission to carry out the first accounting on  “the use of the resources assigned to the attention of the pandemic ”.

According to Carrizo, the report will be submitted to the country every Wednesday.

He said on Twitter that he has also requested the National Directorate of Public Procurement (PanamáCompra), to upload to the transparency section all purchases made by the ongoing Ministry of the Presidency, with emergency funds in this period.

The vice president's announcement comes amid the scandal due to several

investigations by the Public Ministry (MP), due to the acquisition of equipment and articles in the midst of the pandemic, through the Ministry of the Presidency.

They include the acquisition of  100 hospital ventilators 100 fans at a price of $ 48,950 each and the purchase of millions of bottles of alcohol-based gel. and controversial

The scandal led to the resignation of the presidency vice minister, Juan Carlos Muñoz, and his replacement by  Carlos García.

Meanwhile  Carrizo’s name has figured in reports of contracts linked to the presidency which allegedly involve a  supplier conflict of interest and,which passed through his hands.

Many sectors of the country have called for transparency in contracts issued under the coronavirus national emergency umbrella.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/hot-seat-vp-orders-report-of-national-crisis-umbrella-spending-1

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Panama’s unthinkable ventilator gaffe

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Vice-president Corrizo oversaw ventilator purchases

Posted 11/09/2020

The first case of Covid-19 in Panama was officially reported on March 9. But it is no less true that the pandemic was known months before and, without a doubt, it was known that sooner or later it would reach our continent and country. But the authorities reacted late, requiring emergency purchases in a highly speculative market. In the absence of mechanical ventilators - essential to keep patients alive in intensive care units - Panama accepted the unthinkable: buying old equipment, which received it in deplorable condition, without updating and at exorbitant and inhumane prices. Someone profited by the silence of the authorities, who waited until the last moment to acquire equipment and supplies. And, product of improvisation, Panama had to buy fans with multiple problems and now we must pray to some divinity to last something more than the time of the pandemic, since they date from 2013 and 2014 and will be paid as if their components were 24-karat gold. Governments must understand once and for all that not all positions in institutions such as the Ministry of Health should be filled by politicians. It would do them good to appoint health professionals from time to time. - LA PRENSA,  Sep 11

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/panamas-unthinkable-ventilator-gaffe

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Solís no ha refrendado la compra de ventiladores

El contralor respondió a este medio que no ha recibido de institución alguna documento sobre los 32 ventiladores mecánicos entregados a hospitales del país.
 
Mary Triny Zea
13 sep 2020 - 12:00 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/solis-no-ha-refrendado-la-compra-de-ventiladores/

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Comptroller asked to nix purchase of overpriced flawed ventilators

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Gerado Solis

Posted 15/09/2020

The  Panama chapter of Transparency International, has asked  the Comptroller General, Gerardo Solís, to refuse to  endorse the purchase of flawed ventilators delivered by order of the Presidency to four state hospitals.

They hat they were delivered with more than a dozen failures and at a high price.

In a letter delivered on  Monday 14 the organization refers to the journalistic investigation of La Prensa and argues that the resolution that created the State of Emergency does not mean that purchases are made without complying with current legislation regarding medical equipment.

The report revealed that 32 mechanical fans were delivered between March and April, part of an acquisition of 53 units , covered by a letter of commitment from the Presidency for a total of $2.3 million, so the average for each team was $43,400.

Letters from the biomedical staff to the former Health Minister Rosario Turner , revealed that the equipment arrived incomplete, with an expired ventilation circuit, and multiple failures, including a broken screen, a damaged card and its out-of- date software , but they have been gradually corrected .

The Dräger brand equipment was manufactured in 2013 and 2014, sold by the company Primo Medical Group Corp. , owned by Venezuelan executives, not authorized by the manufacturer for distribution and, not endorsed to sell intensive care products

" If the purchase was made from the Ministry of the Presidency, as is presumed, given that the details of the purchase appear in a list of payment commitment letters, or were given from the Ministry of Health, it is not feasible to correct the errors of origin in this act of direct purchase since: it did not comply with the provisions of an  Executive Decree of October 4, 2019, and the equipment had not been previously listed,  and approved by the Ministry of Health” says the letter.

In addition, it also breached an Executive decree, which states that those interested in participating in public events as contractors offering products for human health must be registered and with current certification from the National Registry of Bidders the letter says

" For these reasons and echoing the public outrage we ask you not to endorse this public act contrary to what the law indicates and that those responsible for the omissions face all possible administrative and criminal consequences of their acts, especially as the Public Ministry has  announced that it has opened an investigation into the case, ” says the note signed by Olga de Obaldia, the Foundation's executive director.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/comptroller-asked-to-nix-purchase-of-overpriced-flawed-ventilators

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