KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has found no evidence of graft in an alleged monopoly on the supply of medicines to the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong gave the update to Klang MP Charles Santiago in a written Parliament reply yesterday, who had asked about the results of investigations on a whistleblower’s claim that three tender agents monopolised MOH’s total medicine tenders between 2013 and 2016, worth RM3.7 billion.
“There is no monopoly in the MOH procurement system as it is made on an open tender, where principal appointed agents may participate in an unlimited number of tenders. Of the 20 agents registered with MOH, only one agent failed to obtain a drug supply tender during 2013 to 2016,” said Liew, referring to findings by the Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) that summoned MOH on June 25 2018.
“The results of the MACC investigation find that the procurement process decided by the procurement board of MOH is in accordance with the prescribed procedure; and the MOH used standard government procedures, where MOH also negotiates prices with the agent selected as a savings measure.
“This issue has nothing to do with crime or corruption, but MOH’s current system and administration was formed since the previous government. However, the MOH can remodel and re-evaluate the system for improvements to existing systems and procedures,” Liew further added.
The Star reported that in June last year, a whistleblower forwarded to Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad details of high-ranking officials and politicians, or their relatives, allegedly controlling the supply of billions of ringgit worth of drugs supplied to the government by rigging bids in MOH’s open tender process.
The whistleblower reportedly alleged that from 2013 to 2016, the total medicine tender awards by MOH, worth RM3.7 billion, were controlled by six tendering agents. The top three tendering agents were alleged to have collectively been awarded 75.9 per cent of the RM3.7 billion.
For the same period, half of the tenders allegedly only had one single participant (tendering agent) and represented RM1.8 billion of the RM3.7 billion total contracts value, the whistleblower’s documents supposedly revealed.
Health secretary-general Dr Chen Chaw Min reportedly said in October last year that an internal inquiry found that MOH’s drug procurement process followed Finance Ministry guidelines.
“So far, nothing out of ordinary has been reported against the ministry,” he said.
“With this statement, we hope that no parties will make any assumption or create confusion about the management of the procurement at the Health Ministry.”