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News > Bolivia

Bolivia’s Regime Caught in New COVID-19 Corruption Scandal

  • Minister of Health for the defacto government, Maria Eidy Roca.

    Minister of Health for the defacto government, Maria Eidy Roca. | Photo: Facebook / Extra Bolivia

Published 16 August 2020

This is the second major scandal under the coup-born regime related to the purchase of COVID-19 medical treatment supplies.

Bolivia's regime officials have been found, for the second time, of misusing funds which were destined for fighting COVID-19. 


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The Agency for Infrastructure in Health and Medical Equipment (AISEM) has decided to paralyze the process of purchasing reagents for COVID-19 tests, following a complaint of an alleged overcharge in the acquisition of supplies from the Chinese firm Lasa Holding.

Jeanine Añez's defacto health authorities had opted to purchase supplies at Bs 25 million more than those offered by an Uruguayan firm which had submitted to the bidding process.

Fifteen companies made bids, 13 of which provided prices, according to the documents accessed by Bolivia’s La Razón Digital newspaper.

The Uruguayan company would have charged Bs 22.8 million, for the same product sold to AISEM for Bs 47.3 million from Chinese firm Lasa Holdings. Another bidder, Entelequi, would have charged Bs 32.7 million.

The Ministry of Health led by Health Minister Maria Eidy Roca, says it will launch an investigation and the Ombudsman’s Office has requested a review by the State Comptroller General’s Office.

This is the second time in the midst of the health emergency that the defacto government’s health authorities have been involved in a scandal, an earlier COVID-19 corruption scandal involved the purchase of ventilators at inflated prices.

Meanwhile, morgues in Bolivia's city of La Paz are completely full while corpses are collecting outside of a local chapel, as the country is on the verge of hitting 100,000 confirmed cases to date.

Bodies found on roads or dumped outside have been funneled into morgues, though many residents fear contracting the virus amid the defacto government’s failure to respond to the crisis.

Bolivia’s COVID-19 death toll now exceeds 4,000 and 1,196 new cases were confirmed on Saturday bringing the total to 99,146 since the outbreak reached the country five months ago.


Jeanine Añez
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