By Omar Bah
Continuing our coverage of the damning revelation of the National Audit Office on government’s Covid response, we now turn our attention to the Ministry of Health.
According to the auditors, the Ministry of Health’s failure to negotiate contract terms with suppliers ATC and AKKA cost the government D148, 209,858.
The auditors said they reviewed the procurement contract of medical items between the Ministry of Health and TMS-Turkey supplies and also obtained confirmation from the correspondence of TMS-Turkey supplies dated 13 May 2020 and noted that the MoH signed a contract for procurement of medical items by the World Bank through the Project Coordination Unit (PCU) amounting to $3,946,637 equivalent to about D197, 331,850 without being negotiated contrary to normal procedure.
The auditors also added that their analysis showed that price negotiation with TMS or the use of alternative suppliers such as ATC and AKKA suppliers that also provided quotes could be a huge savings for the government. “The Ministry could have potentially saved $1,255,071 equivalent to D62,753,563 and $1,722,098 equivalent to D86,104,929 from suppliers ATC and AKKA respectively,” the report added.
According to the auditors, some D100M was expended by the Ministry of Health in its Covid-19 response (procurement and distribution of medical items) without providing justifications on how the contract was awarded.
“From our review of procurement and other related documents and discussions with the procurement officer at Project Coordination Unit (PCU) of the Ministry of Health, we noted that PCU procured medical items worth D 100,000,000 equivalent to USD 2,000,000 being the Government expenditure from GLF related to procurement of medical items and equipment in the response to the pandemic. However, we noted that the method of identifying the supplier awarded the contract was not specified in the procurement documents and could not be explained by the procurement officer at the PCU,” the report said.
The report also highlighted that the Ministry of Health has failed to record donated items in the inventory system and tally cards and they were also not found in the store at the time of the audit.
The auditors further highlighted that the ministry of health expended D100M on items not needed to the fight against Covid-19.
“In its COVID-19 Preparedness and Response, the MoH contributed D100 million towards the World Bank project for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment. Under the project, a contract was signed between the MoH and TMS-Turkey supplies worth $3,946,637 equivalent to approximately D197, 331,855 for the supply of medical items and equipment to the Ministry. However, our review of the procurement file indicated that items worth $116,490 equivalent to GMDD5, 824,500 were found not relevant to the fight against COVID-19 as they were kept in store and not distributed at the time of drafting this report,” the auditors noted.