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Million-dollar purchase of respirators canceled after investigations

Panama, Panama.

The Government of Panama announced the cancellation of a million dollar purchase of fans to treat patients with the new coronavirus, after the prosecution began an investigation for alleged embezzlement for the acquisition of 100 respirators for $ 5.2 million.

“For alleged irregularity in the purchase of 100 sets of Allied 300 fans, for patients affected by COVID-19, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation ex officio for the alleged commission of the crime against the public administration, “the entity said in a statement.

The purchase of the fans “would be in the order of $ 5.2 million“The note added. The prosecution also requested information from other Panamanian institutions about the hiring process, the company involved and the officials in charge of said purchase to investigate possible” forms of embezzlement. “

However, the Panamanian government communicated hours later in the daily conference it held on the COVID-19 that the company canceled the operation.

“Unfortunately, that company has informed us today that it will not be able to dispatch the equipment to us due to world demand,” said the vice minister of the Presidency, Juan Carlos Muñoz.

The official, without citing the name of the company, acknowledged that the Panamanian government decided to buy the respirators “at $ 49,000 (per unit) to have them here in 10 days.”

In the peephole

Subsequently, the Panamanian presidency wrote on their Twitter account that the 100 fans would be purchased by the government “from any citizen” who can bring them to Panama in a maximum of 10 days and less than $ 50,000 each.

Read: US registers intoxicated with disinfectant after Trump recommendation to eliminate the coronavirus

Panama blames high prices on strong global demand for these crucial devices to save the more severe patients with COVID-19. According to Muñoz, there is an international “pressure context” for the purchase of respirators because they are the “difference for many coronavirus patients between life and death.”

Several medical advisers working with health authorities to curb the pandemic had already expressed doubts about the cost of ventilators.

“We believe in transparency and institutionality. All files are open for entities that want to investigate to investigate. We are ready for investigations to be carried out,” said Health Minister Rosario Turner.

Panama, with 159 dead and more than 5,500 infected, has the highest number of deaths and infected by the new coronavirus in Central America.

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