The Prosecutor's Office asks to file the Vox complaint against the Government for health spending at the beginning of the pandemic

The Prosecutor’s Office has requested the provisional file of the complaint filed by Vox against three senior government officials, whom it accused of having committed a series of irregularities for the acquisition of medical supplies at the beginning of the pandemic. The opinion of the Prosecutor’s Office coincides with that of the report of the Court of Auditors on the management carried out by Health before the outbreak of the health crisis in terms of purchases of material to deal with the spread of covid-19, especially masks and gloves. The Court of Auditors analyzed the existence of “incidents” in these contracts, due to the emergency situation, but without giving criminal relevance to any of those detected, such as delays in deliveries or lack of publicity to carry out the contracts. In its report, the Prosecutor’s Office considers that Vox has not specified “sufficiently” the “minimum” indications to carry out an investigation. The prosecutors estimate that the complaint has little foundation, to the extent that it is based on “mere conjecture and suspicion”, without being able to appreciate the concurrence of the elements that make up the alleged crimes reported.

The complaint was directed against three people: the director of the National Institute of Health Management, the general director of Rationalization and Centralization of Contracting and the general director of the Common Portfolio of the National Health and Pharmacy System service. The ultra political formation maintained that between March 13 and April 30, 2020, 56 contracts were signed by the National Institute of Health Management (Ingesa) without any type of publicity and outside of any administrative procedure. In addition, he alluded to the fact that a dozen awards were made to companies of “doubtful” existence since only one company name was known.

All these aspects have already been analyzed by the Court of Auditors, which attributed the emergency procedures used by Ingesa to the need to act urgently to obtain medical supplies. Now, the report itself underlined that there were very striking circumstances, such as the fact that the price of masks multiplied by ten in one week at the beginning of the health crisis.

The Prosecutor’s Office, in turn, explains that the indications provided by the complainants about the possible irregularity in the administrative contracting are based on conjectures related to the doubts generated by the procedure used and the awardee entities, “but without specifying what types of breaches in terms of administrative contracting, the public entity incurred in said contracting.” That lack of specificity, in his opinion, does not justify the request to investigate certain facts “because of their importance and notoriety.” For the prosecutors, an investigation of this type would have a “prospective nature”, without solid indications of the existence of crimes.

The report focuses on the adaptation to current regulations of the contracts entered into by the public entity Ingesa between the months of March and April of the year 2020. First, it states that there was a “notorious” and “unquestionable” fact such as the pandemic “and that the way of hiring had to be adapted to said event.” Therefore, it refers to the report of the Court of Auditors made with all contracts entered into by Ingesa between January 1 and December 31, 2020, including those that are the subject of the complaint, and concludes that said report “cannot lead to other conclusion than that the audited contracts were practiced in full compliance with the administrative regulations.

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The mere confrontation of the indications reported in the complaint with the “concise” and “detailed” report prepared by the Court of Auditors on the contracts entered into is what leads the Prosecutor’s Office to request the dismissal of the case. In addition, it specifies that with regard to the contracts included in the complaint, the documentary evidence provided by the State Attorney’s Office, “appreciating the existence of sufficient control regarding both the form of contracting and the requirement to comply with the obligations contracted by the successful bidder, also lead to urging the dismissal and filing of the criminal investigation.”

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