The Bolivian Legislative Assembly approved a commission on Monday to investigate the alleged price premium on the purchase of clinical respirators in Spain, which is under judicial investigation for which five defendants, including a former minister, were sent to pretrial detention.
The Bolivian Parliament agreed in a regular session that the special commission be made up of three senators and six deputies, to investigate both the 170 respirators purchased in Spain and another 500 that the country’s interim government announced.
“And everything related to the acquisition of equipment and supplies for the attention of the health emergency,” declared in the country before the coronavirus, according to a report by the Assembly.
The emergency has been declared since last March 22 and until next May 31, with several regulations that allow direct emergency purchases to attend to the health situation due to the coronavirus, with 250 deaths and 6,263 infected in the country, according to the latest report. official.
The commission is expected to be made up of six legislators from the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which has a parliamentary majority; two from the Democratic Unit (UD) and one from the Christian Democratic Party (PDC).
“They will verify who were the ones who made the purchase of the respirators. In addition, the investigation into the funds of the IDB – Inter-American Development Bank – for this topic and the other purchases they are making will be expanded,” the president of the Assembly, Eva Copa.
The parliamentary commission arises when a judicial process is already underway on this alleged corruption case, the largest in the nearly six months that Jeanine Áñez has been in power temporarily in Bolivia, in which her interim former Minister of Health Marcelo Navajas He was sent to preventive detention.
The case investigates the purchase of 170 respirators through a Spanish intermediary company for just over $ 27,000 per unit, three times the real price, in addition to being valid only for emergencies and not for intensive therapy in patients with COVID -19.
Bolivia paid some 2.2 million dollars and warned that it will not pay another 1.4 million pending, with financing from the IDB, in a controversial case in the country after being arrested and then released the judge who must process it, with criticism of interference in Justice and politicization of the process.