Opposition seeks criminal prosecution of health minister

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 25, 2016 10:40

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  • Democratic Party MPs say health checkup PPP and the selection of the winning company caused 16 million euros in damages to the state budget

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Health Minister Ilir Beqja

Health Minister Ilir Beqja

TIRANA, Nov. 22 - Albania's main opposition Democratic Party has filed criminal charges against Minister of Health Ilir Beqaj in regards to the concessionaire contract for the Healthcare Check Up, which according to the opposition has caused huge financial damages to the state budget.

The opposition says it believes that the contract assigned to a friend of Prime Minister Edi Rama was approved through several violations of the law.

Democratic Party MPs Albana Vokshi and Arbiola Halimi deposited the charge at the Prosecution’s Office and said the healthcare checkup service is one of the biggest corrupt affairs of the Socialist led government in the past three years.

“This concession contract aims to favor the clientele of Edi Rama and Ilir Beqa,” Vokshi said.

Democratic Party MP said the contract and the selection of the winning company of the contract has caused 16 million euros in damages to the state budget.

“In nine months alone we have noted an abuse that has cost the state about 1.5 million euros,” Vokshi added, saying that the Democratic Party is determined to protect the interests of the Albanian people

A recent government decision to expand a medical checkup program that operates with public funding through a 10-year concession to a private company has drawn the ire of the political opposition, which has called it “a corrupt affair.”

The opposition and some independent experts say the private-public partnership program has proven to be a failure since it was awarded last year as a concession to offer medical checkups to residents 40 to 65 years old. The recent decision expands the availability of free medical checkups to legal residents aged 35 to 70 years old.

The concessionaire pledged to offer free health checkups to 475,000 residents from 40-65 years old. One year later, the private partner figures show it has failed to meet the target as not enough people showed up to do the health screenings at the laboratories established by the private company. Instead of revoking the contract and admitting failure, the government decided to extend the pool of beneficiaries to citizens from 35-70 years old.

The opposition had earlier criticized the choice of one of the companies awarded the contract, saying it had not experience in medical public private partnerships. The consortium includes Marketing and Distribution, an old Albanian company that primarily deals in importing and distributing tobacco, alcohol, cleaning products and food.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 25, 2016 10:40