Bolivia’s Health Minister Sacked for Alleged COVID-19 fraud

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Bolivia’s health minister has been arrested on suspicion of corruption related to the over-priced purchase of ventilators to fight COVID-19, the police chief said on Wednesday.

Marcelo Navajas was detained by police in La Paz, Colonel Ivan Rojas said, a day after interim President Jeanine Anez ordered an investigation. Two other health ministry officials have also been arrested. Bolivia bought 179 ventilators from a manufacturer in Spain for $27,683 each, costing almost $5 million.

That was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. Two of the bank’s employees have been summoned to make witness statements. But it later transpired that the manufacturer was offering ventilators for 9,500-11,000 euros each ($10,312-$11,941).

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