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Latvian minister voices concerns over questionably spent EUR 912 124

Ilze Viņķele/flickr.com

Healthcare Ministry’s ordered assessment reports on previously performed information and communication technology tenders contain concerns in regards to fraud and inefficient use of funds, said Latvian Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele at a press conference on 15 May.

The minister informed those attending the conference that the ministry had ordered inspections to be performed in two ICT projects: National Health Service’s organized adoption of the Healthcare Financing Law tool and Healthcare Ministry’s ICT centralization project. This was done to determine the project’s progress and use of funding.

In relation to the adoption of the Healthcare Financing Law tool, experts found questionable use of EUR 315 000 on equipment at the end of 2018. The procured equipment has yet to be used once. As for the ministry’s ICT centralization project, inspections have revealed questionable transactions worth EUR 597 124.78, the ministry reports.

The total amount of funding in question is EUR 912 124.

«We have reasons to suspect fraud. In both projects experts have found out that completely different and more expensive software was procured instead of the intended versions,» said the minister, adding that experts have not identified the software licenses in both projects.

After analysing both projects, experts concluded that procurement of specific software licenses limited competition towards for other contenders.

«We have carefully analysed both cases. Available information shows that in the past two years a specific scheme was in place that allowed specific companies that do not have software licenses to offer services associated with introduction and maintenance of software licenses,» said Viņķele.

The minister also reveals that two inspections will be organized. At the same time, she has ordered a review of Healthcare Ministry’s ICT procurements policy to see if it is possible to terminate aforementioned contracts and request return of money from suppliers.

The aforementioned procurements were performed using Electronic Procurement System. Healthcare Ministry plans to discuss uncovered facts with Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, State Regional Development Agency and Competition Council because there are concerns such violations could be found in other industries.

«The system is a good and useful tool. Unfortunately, it is also a poorly supervised tool. It appears the system can be potentially used to limit competition,» said the minister.


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