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Multiple violations found in BR-VT’s anti-pandemic equipment purchase

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Inspectors of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have detected multiple violations in the procurement of medical equipment, supplies and Covid test kits in the 2020-2021 period.

From January 2020 to December 2021, the province spent more than VND200 billion buying medical equipment, supplies and test kits, the local media reported.

During the period, the provincial Department of Health and Center for Disease Control borrowed chemicals, test kits and machinery from six companies, including more than 28,500 test kits from the Viet A Technology Corporation, which was not approved in writing by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau government.

The province also borrowed 1.5 million rapid test kits from the Amerphaco Company and then appointed the company as the contractor of a test kit bidding package. However, the provincial government promptly canceled the appointment. If not, the province would have to pay VND210 billion to Amerphaco.

The Department of Health did not study the list of anti-pandemic products in line with the 2013 Bidding Law before proposing the provincial government issue documents on the procurement of medical supplies and the Covid-19 testing price.

The prices of products were offered by providers, who were also the winners of the bidding packages.

In addition, the products were transferred to many providers before being sold to the province, resulting in their high prices. Typically, An Thinh Health Service Trading Co., Ltd won packages Nos. 5 and 6 worth nearly VND15 billion in 2020. However, its goods, which were sold to the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Health, were bought from the Ta Thien An Service Trading Co., Ltd.

Ta Thien An also bought the products from the Dai Phuc Company and the Y Viet Service and Trading Co., Ltd.

In these two packages, investigators also found that goods were purchased after being sold, and the winning bid prices of tens of products were much higher than the import prices, even by 230%.

According to investigators, the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Department of Health has appointed An Thinh Health, Ta Thien An and Le Minh to provide medical equipment and supplies, but these companies were ineligible to trade medical equipment in line with the law.

The department must take responsibility for its medical equipment procurement proposals and its shortcomings in hiring consultants to appraise medical equipment, estimate and approve the prices of equipment, submit plans to choose equipment providers, and borrow medical equipment and rapid test kits.

Therefore, investigators suggested the Ba Ria-Vung Tau government assign the provincial Department of Home Affairs to propose disciplinary measures for the director of the Department of Health.

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