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LAfter close to eight hours of testimony for two days, and under the warning of members of the House of Representatives that it could have been perjured on several occasions, the former Assistant Secretary of Administration of the Health Department, Adil Rosa Rivera, reiterated that she and the doctors Segundo Rodríguez Quilichini and Juan Salgado authorized the failed purchase of one million COVID-19 tests.
But no matter how many attempts legislators made, Rosa Rivera never said whether Governor Wanda Vázquez was aware of the transaction. Rosa Rivera also rejected an offer of immunity of the Chamber Health Commission.
However, he located Mabel Cabeza, La Fortaleza’s liaison with the medical “task force”, in a meeting in which the purchase of the tests was discussed and also instructing on recruitment processes despite the fact that he no longer worked in Health. Cabeza was removed from his position as special assistant by former acting secretary Concepcion Quiñones.
This afternoon, Rosa Rivera came to recognize, at the questions of the representative, José “Pichy” Torres Zamora, who was the head who “ruled” in the Department of Health, even above the former secretary of the agency Rafael Rodríguez Mercado.
Amid the questioning of the President of the Commission, Juan Oscar MoralesRosa Rivera said that it seemed to her that Rodríguez Quilichini had the authority to order the purchase of the million tests because she understood that she had authorization from La Fortaleza.
Rodríguez Quilichini has denied that he had decision-making power over the purchase of evidence from Apex General Contractors, in the amount of $ 38 million, and asked the cameral commission for an opportunity to testify at the hearing they are conducting.
Among other matters, it has been revealed, by reports from El NuevoDía, that Apex had no contractual relationship with the supplier of the tests in Australia, so it could not comply with the order.
While signing the agreement with Apex for $ 38 each test, the government rejected an offer to buy 500,000 Covid-19 tests at a cost of $ 10 per unit.
“He (Rodríguez Quilichini) said that this was the company that had to be hired,” said Rosa Rivera.
“Did you call La Fortaleza?” Morales asked him.
“No, because it was represented there (La Fortaleza) by the‘ task force ’,” he replied. “They were immersed in all the decisions… in the supplies, in the quantities. The first company they recommended was the testing company. “
“Did they order and command?” Asked Torres Zamora when referring to the “task force.”
“If i answer.
Rosa Rivera shared text messages with members of the Commission, such as one allegedly written by Rodríguez Quilichini, in which she notified him of a possible purchase of three million pieces of evidence. “Here today, and square purchases with them,” read the message.
In another text, Salgado says to Rosa Rivera: “Remember that all final purchases must be approved by Segundo and / or the Secretary of Health.”
At the time of signing the contract with Apex, Quiñones had resigned.
Rosa Rivera, who claimed to be the “appointing authority for purchases in the Department of Health,” had already acknowledged that she designated Mariel Rivera as the person in charge of the purchase of $ 38 million, who had no experience in these processes.
To questions from the independence representative Denis Márquez, Rosa Rivera answered in the affirmative to the question of whether she had recommended Rivera to be a purchasing analyst in Health because she was her friend and from her party. Rosa Rivera also acknowledged that she did not consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about whether the evidence being purchased was adequate and did not review Apex’s corporate goals.
“We did our best within the limitations we had for the welfare of Puerto Rico,” he said. “In the emergency, the normal purchasing process was not used.”
Rosa Rivera refuted Rodríguez Quilichini, who stated, in a letter today, that Quiñones was aware of the hiring for $ 38 million.
“The dynamics were very different,” said Rosa Rivera, refuting other assertions in Rodríguez Quilichini’s letter, such that the members of the “task force” do not have contact with suppliers or attend to issues such as prices for equipment units.
“That is what I want to make clear. One thing is what is said and another what happened there, ”said Rosa Rivera.
Did Dr. Concepción Quiñones de Longo know about the hiring of Apex? Morales asked.
“That I had knowledge, no,” Rosa Rivera replied, and then added that the statement would be false.
Was she the call to authorize the $ 38 million order? Morales asked.
“It is correct,” replied Rosa Rivera.
The hearings continue, on Monday, with the presence of a purchasing analyst, Diana Meléndez, and members of a technical team evaluating tests of Health.
Morales said Rosa Rivera lied at the hearing and said he plans to refer her to law enforcement authorities.
According to Morales, Rosa Rivera lied when she rejected that Cabeza had any participation in the purchase of rapid tests from the Castro Business company.