ADK Trading and Shipping says the bid to buy ventilators from German manufacturers Draeger was awarded to Dubai’s Executor General Trading although the manufacturers authorized distributor was available locally.

In a statement today, ADK said that it is the authorized distributor of Draeger products in the Maldives and that it goes against international best practices when the local distributor is bypassed and such a bid is awarded to a third party.

The company said it is now evident that the health ministry had overpaid the Dubai company for the ventilators.

It said that the Ministry has sanctioned 90 percent of the payment for 75 ventilators at the rate of USD 32,500 per ventilator.

It said that in previous correspondence with the Ministry, ADK had indicated that it could procure a Draeger Oxylog Ventilator for USD 15000 and a high-end ICU and Ambulatory Ventilator for USD 20500.

ADK also said that a member of the Executive Steering Committee formed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic had inquired about the pricing of Draeger ventilators informally on the 15th of March this year.

The company did not identify the member.

ADK added that Draeger had informed that with the rise in the demand for ventilators in the current market, there were production bottlenecks blocking the supply of the equipment.

The issue of overpaid ventilators was highlighted in the compliance audit report on COVID-19 response expenditures of the Health Ministry by the Auditor General’s Office.

The compliance audit report highlighted significant irregularities in the procurement of ventilators. It revealed a total of MVR 30.9 million had been in advance to Executor General Trading (Dubai) for procurement of 75 ventilators and that to date no ventilator has been delivered to the country.

In the report, the Audit Office said that it found that the party has been selected to procure ventilators without assessing its financial and technical capabilities.

The Auditor-General recommended relevant authorities to investigate the bidding and awarding of procurement of Ventilators from local parties, in view of lack of fair and competitive bidding.