JEDDAH — The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) referred a case involving the purchase of substandard dialysis equipment by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution. Following a thorough investigation, the NACC concluded that there is a strong possibility that corruption played a role in the purchase.
An anonymous NACC source said that the company awarded the dialysis chairs purchased by the officials did not meet the required specifications. Moreover, the fact that the company the contract was awarded to, was owned by a former MOH official heightened suspicions that there was premeditated intent to exclude all the other bids from worthy consideration.
The case started when the ministry signed a contract worth SR9.8 million with a local company to supply 706 dialysis chairs within six months effective May 2011. Nine companies submitted their tenders. However, the former official’s company was awarded the contract even though it did not meet the ministry’s minimum requirements.
Upon delivery, the chairs showed several defects including non-functioning remotes and armrests of varying lengths. NACC concluded that the chairs were of substandard quality and not comparable with the ones used previously by the ministry. BIP investigations are ongoing.
Earlier this year, the NACC investigated a former official of the Ministry of Agriculture on charges of abusing power.
The official was accused of using his knowledge of strategic locations of important lands to sell them to people in exchange for a share of the profits.
The NACC said any governmental official, past or present, will be held accountable for all dealings he/she was involved in. The commission called upon citizens to cooperate and report any case of corruption. — SG