Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has dragged a South African medical supplier, Fresenius, to graft-busting body, Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) over a ‘shady’ deal in procurement of a dialysis machine for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) .
A notice served to ACB indicates that HRDC is troubled with how Fresenius Medical Care got the deal without tendering and numerous anomalies the single sourcing route that was used.
This anomaly, HRDC says, is in violation of the single-sourcing provisions of the Public Procurement laws and regulations since 2015.
“The Ministry of Health is allegedly reported to be coercing the Director General of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) to give supply contracts to Fresenius for dialysis services to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Kamuzu Central Hospital for another 5 years without tendering and total disregard of the determinations given by PPDA on the appeals of the Ministry of Health on their wishes,” reads part of the notice.
It adds: “This sets a dangerous precedent for not complying with procurement laws and should not be tolerated.”
HRDC says it strongly suspects that some officials at Ministry of Health – reportedly captured by Fresenius with bribes – are abusing their offices and powers by misleading PPDA to extend the contract for their benefits and cover up for Fresenius.
The civil rights group says it is troubled with Fresenius’s involvement in Malawi’s procurement deals when the company has a punctured track record in other countries.
“Even more troubling is the fact that the Ministry of Health is allegedly pushing for supply contracts with Fresenius that lack transparency at the time when the same company is allegedly reported on the global stage to be involved in the unethical corporate practices of getting businesses in many countries in Africa and beyond by corrupting officials.”
Fresenius is reported to have been found in the wrong by the US Justice Department for paying bribes to government officials to win or retain business in several countries.
The US penalized Fresenius with a $231 million fine for this misconduct.
The alert comes at a time when government is intensifying its fight against corruption especially in procurement of services and material in government institutions.
HRDC demands that Fresenius should not have more business to transact in Malawi until it is investigated and cleared by ACB.
ACB is yet to officially comment on the matter but inside sources say the issue has been logged into the registry and will be acted upon with the speed it deserves.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :