Minister of Health Sacked For Inflating Ventilator Price To Combat Coronavirus

Bolivia's health minister, Marcelo Navajas, has been dismissed from office for suspected fraud linked to the procurement of medical equipment in the country to fight COVID-19.

It was found that Marcelo allegedly inflated the costs of ventilators that were bought for COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country.

According to police chief Colonel Ivan Rojas, the minister for health was detained in La Paz on Wednesday after an investigation was ordered by the interim Bolivian president, Jeanine Anez.

Two other senior members of the health ministry were also arrested by police in connection with the purchase.

The Bolivian Government spent $5 million for 179 ventilators from Spain at the cost of $27,683 per unit.

Investigations however discovered that the ventilators were actually sold between £9,500 – £11,000 ($10,212 & $11,941) per unit.

Two employees of the Inter-American development bank were also arrested in connection with the purchase since it was funded by the bank.

The fraud was revealed after Bolivian doctors complained that ventilators did not meet the required standards for intensive care units across the country.

Bolivia has 4,509 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 130 recorded deaths.

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Thursday 21st of May 2020

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