One of the first cases of corruption that appeared during this health emergency occurred in the hospital of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) Los Ceibos, in Guayaquil.
It was for the purchase of covers for corpses with an exaggerated price premium. In these days, it was confirmed that one of those involved in the incident is Daniel Salcedo, who when trying to flee to Peru had an accident and today is hospitalized and with a prison order.
The process began on May 4, 2020 with the filing of charges against three officials of that health house and the spouse of the owner of the company Silverti SA
This is one of the 10 companies that won contracts with that hospital from March 1, 2020 to June 9, according to information from the National Public Procurement Service (Sercop).
The General Comptroller of the State (CGE), in a report with indications of criminal responsibility, specified that in the IESS in Los Ceibos there were irregularities in the pre-contractual phase to acquire body covers. The purchase was made with a surcharge of 1,311%.
“The responsible officials did not justify why other state suppliers were not sought, to guarantee quality and better costs. It was not considered that in the public purchasing portal there are acquisitions made by other entities with prices much lower than those proposed by the supplier, ”specifies the Comptroller.
Following Salcedo’s arrest, Attorney General Diana Salazar revealed that there are other arrest warrants against providers.
“We are looking only at public servants, but let’s not forget the responsibility of providers who, taking advantage of the emergency, inflate prices,” he said.
Functions of the defendants
According to information from the Judicial Function, Susana M., general manager and legal representative of the hospital, allegedly signed the decision to award purchases for the body covers for a cost of $ 148 per unit, when in the Market price ranged from $ 12 to $ 14.
Cristhina GZ was responsible for public procurement at that establishment and directed the contractual processes. While Elizabeth VP gave the go-ahead for the acquisition of supplies.
On May 14, the three women filed a writ of habeas corpus to recover their freedom. One of the main reasons was that they were infected with covid-19.
On June 2, 2020, the Specialized Criminal Chamber of the Guayas Provincial Court of Justice declared the action inadmissible, for which reason they remain in prison.
During that hearing, Johana V. indicated that there were 30,000 cases of covid-19 in the hospital, with 70 deaths per day. That is why she clarified that it was necessary to buy the covers urgently to deliver the deceased to their relatives.
“During the emergency we did not have reference values and suppliers speculated on prices,” he said.
As for the Silverti SA company, it obtained contracts for $ 872,000 with the Los Ceibos hospital, another for $ 224,815 with the General hospital in Riobamba and for $ 167,920 with the Potable Water and Sanitation Company, in Quito.
Mishandling of bodies and robberies
The Prosecutor’s Office also carries out investigations for alleged mishandling of bodies at the Los Ceibos hospital. Supposedly there were improper charges to deliver bodies, which generated disorder and loss of identities.
In addition, the protocols applied to patients are investigated. Augusto Itúrburu, a journalist for Diario El Telégrafo, was hospitalized in that health facility and his belongings were taken from him to allegedly be cremated.
Fifteen days later he died and the money from the cards that were taken from him was withdrawn. (I)