MoH to probe into Bir scandal

Published On: July 9, 2017 11:30 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 9: The Ministry of Health (MoH) has decided to probe into the suspected irregularities in the process of purchasing Tomo Therapy machine by the Bir Hospital.

“We have formed a committee to investigate into the bidding process and possible misuse of funds of Bir Hospital,” said Dr Kiran Regmi, secretary at the MoH. “We will have a clear picture only after the investigation,” she added.

Bishal Pandit, who owns Hospitech Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Life Line Trade International Pvt Ltd, located at Tinkune in Kathmandu, was recently awarded a lucrative deal to buy a radiotherapy machine for Bir Hospital.

Bir Hospital had issued a tender of Rs 420 million (US$ 4.2 million) for the Tomo Therapy machine manufactured by Accuray Inc USA on July 4. The hospital subsequently awarded the deal to Pandit's Life Line Trade International Pvt Ltd, which proposed Rs 399.08 million during the bidding process.

Tomo Therapy machine costs US$ 2.2 million to 2.5 million while Pandit has quoted US$ 3.2 million exclusive of VAT and customs duty, an installation cost of Rs 66.6 million  and maintenance cost of US$ 200,000, according to the bid details. The normal installlation cost is said to be Rs. 30 million and the normal maintenance cost US$100,000.

A complaint has also been filed at the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) against Bishal Pandit for misuse of government funds with the involvement of government and hospital officials in getting more than a dozen of tenders worth some Rs 1.8 billion in about a year. The state-owned hospital has been blamed for awarding different tenders to the companies owned by Pandit.

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