Used equipment was delivered to the hospital, but it was payed for as if it was new" />

Abkhazian Ministry of Health suspected of fraud

Used equipment was delivered to the hospital, but it was payed for as if it was new

The opposition in Abkhazia is demanding that officials be held accountable for the possible embezzlement of money which was allocated from the state budget in order to purchase medical equipment for hospitals.

The scandal began with a report from the audit palace of Abkhazia, which checked the Ministry of Health for its efficient use of budgetary resources in 2016. The audit established that the ministry purchased pre-used equipment from a private Sukhum clinic called Savitar.

In the report, however, this is not reflected: the Ministry of Health was unable to provide any technical documents for this equipment. Moreover, the equipment was payed for as if it was new.

The sum paid was more than 40 million roubles [about USD 600 000], with a portion of the money wired from the president’s reserve fund.

The audit chamber conducted a comparative price analysis and came to the conclusion that even if the ministry had bought completely new equipment, it would have cost about 4 million roubles less [about USD 68 000 less] than what was paid.

“We are remaining quiet, we’re not reacting. The President is quiet. The Prime Minister is  quiet. Who are we waiting for?” says one of the leaders of the opposition, MP Aslan Bzhania.

Bzhania raised the issue at a plenary session of the Abkhaz parliament and demanded that the Ministry of Health undergo a complete audit. Bzhania called to ‘bring clarity to the question’: to either bring those guilty to justice or to do away with the audit chamber entirely.

The parliament intends to hold a hearing on this issue soon.

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