Public Procurement Commission launches probe into controversial GPHC drug purchase

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 March 2017, 15:20 by Denis Chabrol

In the wake of wide-ranging concerns about the procurement of more than GYD $1 billion in drugs, including a GYD$605 million purchase from Ansa Mc Al, the Public Procurement Commission has begun a probe.

In keeping with its functions laid down in Guyana’s constitution, the Procurement Commission said it “has commenced an investigation into the procurement of pharmaceutical and other medical supplies, specifically by the Guyana Public Hospital Corporation.”

The announcement by the Public Procurement Commission comes against the background of the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon saying that there was no need for a probe into the actions of Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence’s role in sourcing the supplies. For her part, Lawrence has justified the purchases without passing through the procurement process because the need had been classified as an emergency. Government has said the Board of Directors of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation has been asked to probe the medical institution’s procurement of its drugs.

The Public Procurement Commission said its probe would include the collection and review of relevant information from various stakeholders within the national procurement system “and will conduct interviews and examine documentation as deemed necessary.”

Assuring the public that it is “committed to a completely transparent and objective investigation,” the Commission urged members of the public who may have pertinent information to make written submissions to the Chairman, Public Procurement Commission at Parliament Office, Parliament Buildings by 12th April 2017.  

“Since the subject of this investigation is of national interest and has resulted in significant public concern, the Public Procurement Commission will submit its findings to the National Assembly,” the Public Procurement Commission said in its statement