Jordan to answer more Parliament questions on $632m drug purchases

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan has been presented with more questions in relation to nearly $632 million in emergency drug purchases for the Georgetown Public Hos-pital Corporation (GPHC).

Those answers are expected to be provided at today’s sitting of Parlia-ment.

Opposition Member of Parliament Juan Edghill has asked Jordan to explain how GPHC was able to purchase $605,962,200 of “emergency pharmaceutical supplies” through sole sourcing if their request for a waiver of the Procurement Act ( S 28C) was denied.

Jordan in his response to Notice Paper 101, tabled on July 7th, 2017, had advised the House in writing that the request, by GPHC for a waiver was not approved by the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).

Asked to state if any requests were made by the GPHC and the Ministry of Public Health for the waiver of procedures for the procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for the period January 2016 to April 2017 and to provide same to the National Assembly, including the grounds for each request, Jordan had explained that while there were requests from both GPHC and the Ministry of Public Health to the NPTAB for waivers for their respective procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, NPTAB procedures were not waived.

Jordan then listed eighteen times between January 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017, where requests were made by the GPHC for the waiver of the Tender Board procedure for procurement.

The NPTAB did not approve four contracts, totaling $631,913,655, for the supply of emergency drugs, which GPHC said was single-sourced under Section 28 C of the Procurement Act. The breakdown of awardees and the sums are Heath 2000, $2,923,900; New GPC Inc., $20,888,610; Chirosyn Discovery, $2,138,925; and ANSA McAL, $605,962,200.

In light of this response, Edghill now wishes to know how GPHC “was able to proceed to award the tender to ANSA McAL and to proceed to make payments in violation of the Procurement Act and the financial rules. “

He has also called on the Minister to say what action if any has been taken by himself, or the NPTAB, with regard to this matter as well as whether this violation has been referred to the attention of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).

On Friday, the board of the GPHC released the findings of its investigation into the matter which said that its former Chief Executive Officer, Allan Johnson had acted “recklessly” in the matter. It however added that there was no information that Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence had instructed that procurement procedures be bypassed.

Meanwhile Stabroek News understands that the PPC has already completed an investigation into the purchases. The report of this investigation according to PPC Chairman Carol Corbin will be handed over to the National Assembly before it goes into recess on August 11, 2017.

Expected to be revealed in the report was that the purchase indeed breached the Procurement Act and was thus illegal from its inception, sources say.

 

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