Balearic Covid-19 purchases being investigated.

Balearic Covid-19 purchases being investigated. archive photo.

08-06-2020Ultima Hora

The Balearic Anticorruption Office is studying all the purchases made by the Government during the State of Emergency, including items from China, according to Director, Jaime Far.

Far says the study will include analysis of contracts and hiring of staff and that the findings will be sent to the Office of Regulation and Supervision of Procurement.

65 million euros

During the coronavirus lockdown, the Government spent 65 million euros on medical supplies such as masks, gloves and protective equipment, without complying with the regulations of the procurement laws, which is allowed under the State of Emergency, but they still have to be checked.

Some of the purchases made in China were obtained through a Chinese lawyer associated with José María Lafuente's law firm and the fact that he is a socialist militant has provoked criticism from the PP.

During the height of the pandemic, Covid-19 tests, respirators, masks, screens and protective equipment were shipped from China, the Peninsula and other places.

The Government chartered several planes to bring all these materials to the Balearics and each flights had to be paid for.

The Government's Transparency Portal shows that, on 14 May, a plane was leased to bring Covid-19 materials from China at a cost of 1,455,000 euros. Several flights were made and the cheapest one cost 370,000 euros.

The Government claims it was the only way to obtain protective material when the virus was running rampant in the Balearic Islands and says countries all over the world were clamouring to buy the same materials at the same time, which resulted in a bidding war.

The President of the Executive, Francina Armengol, has defended the purchases saying, the Government had a responsibility to protect residents and Healthcare Personnel.

"I would have been concerned if the Government was unable to protect its citizens, but it was not," she said.

She insisted that the contracting rules in force during the State of Emergency were followed but acknowledged that the Anti-Corruption Office has the right to investigate.

"We have followed the general rule of engagement during the State of Emergency," said Armengol and stressed that despite being a small community, the Balearic Islands was able to bring materials from China when the Central Government could not provide supplies for Autonomous Communities.

Audit

The Anti-Corruption Office study falls hard on the heels of Parliament’s approval of a proposal put forward by left-wing parties for the Balearics Audit Office to check the accounts of the Anti-Corruption Office.

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Yogi / Hace 11 months

I think it’s fair to say Sñra Armengol, that the virus has not and never did run rampant in these islands. Far from it. They’d be wise to keep as much of this over-priced stuff in reserve as possible for when there is another increase in infections.

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Mark Badoer / Hace 11 months

Well, it does not take a genius to work out that people have been collecting here. It is the national sport in Spain, so why would it be different this time.

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