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Inspectors suggest cancelling Covid-19 testing system purchase contract

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HCMC – Inspectors of Quang Nam Province have suggested that the provincial government cancel a bidding package to purchase a real-time PCR detection system used for Covid-19 testing as well as reprimand officials involved in the alleged price-gouging procurement.

The provincial Inspectorate on June 24 announced its conclusion of an inspection of the purchase of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine at VND7.23 billion, which was then revised down to VND4.85 billion by a supplier.

The prompt response of the province to purchase the RT-PCR machine to help fight against Covid-19 is the right move, in line with the directions of the prime minister and the Health Ministry.

It is lawful to organize a bidding session to buy the machine. The availability of the system has enabled thousands of tests to be conducted to serve the Covid-19 quarantine and treatment activities, helping the country curb the spread of the disease.

However, the inspectors discovered violations in the setting and appraising of the price of the bidding package at the provincial departments of Health and Finance, thus leading to the bidding being organized in violation of the prevailing regulations.

No financial damages were reported as the system was in the pilot operation stage, with the payment yet to be made, the inspectors noted.

Further, among the three price quotations presented by the three suppliers of the product, the inspectors found that two of them violated the 2013 Bidding Law.

Accordingly, the Inspectorate suggested that the bidding package be cancelled, asking the two departments to propose to the provincial government adjustments to the package price and address other problems.

In addition, the Inspectorate suggested that the provincial government reprimand the directors of the two departments, deputy heads of the Finance Departments, director of the Quang Nam Center for Disease Control and the other individuals concerned.

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