High-level Coordination Committee to discuss financial irregularities in medical equipment purchase deal


KATHMANDU, April 2: The High-level Coordination Committee formed to prevent and control the coronavirus is holding a meeting today to discuss the possible financial irregularities in the procurement of the COVID-19 emergency medical supplies.

According to Industry, Commerce and Supplies Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta, the meeting will mull on the circumstances created after the Health Ministry scrapped the controversial procurement deal with the Omni Business Corporate following the widespread criticisms and suspicion of millions of embezzlements while purchasing medical supplies from China.

The government on March 26, without holding a discussion on quotations submitted by 19 suppliers, had awarded the procurement contract worth Rs 1.25 billion to Omni Group overnight.

But, after it was revealed that the government is purchasing PPEs, protective goggles, Ir thermometer and other medical equipment at four to seven times higher price than the usual market price, the Health Ministry scrapped the tender saying the contractor brought only 10 percent of the materials in the first lot and failed to contact the concerned authorities within the given deadline although they had expressed commitment to supply the remaining materials by Monday, and also seizing the Omni Group’s Rs 50 million security deposit.

The meeting will also discuss the effectiveness of lockdown, Minister Bhatta said.