Taxpayers hit with “double whammy” following $605 M drug procurement scandal-PPP

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By Stacy Carmichael-James

Several questions were asked by the Opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday as it relates to the over 600 million dollars sole sourcing of drugs by the Public Health Ministry from the foreign company Ansa McAl, however, the Opposition is not satisfied with the responses.

“Clearly the Minister, Volda Lawrence was actively embedded in the procurement process in violation of the Procurement Act and the financial rules and regulations of this country as a former chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee…she is very knowledgeable and knows what she did is not allowed,” said PPP Chief Whip Gail Teixeira.

The Opposition believes that the procurement of drugs and medical supplies by the Public Health Ministry without a tendering process and on the grounds of an emergency is a cover up to a bigger scandal.

The PPP believes strongly too that if an examination of the Ministry’s budget spending is conducted it would show that some 80 percent of the awards would not have gone through a tendering process.

However, the Opposition Chief Whip said the party will continue to use the parliamentary forum to exercise its rights to question the ministers and demand that they provide the required information.

The PPP has also noted that the taxpayers have been hit with a “double whammy” as a result of the 605 million dollar scandal since the delay in purchases resulted in a shortage of basic drugs at the public health facilities.

Another hit is as a result of the higher cost attached to the purchase.

Meantime, Opposition MP Juan Edghill said the Opposition has asked that Minister Lawrence reveals who are the “suitcase” suppliers are who were providing inferior drugs. Edghill also raised the concern that many of the health facilities are not operating in accordance with the Public Health Facilities law.

 

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