The Nepal government on Wednesday cancelled a contract with a private business group to import necessary coronavirus testing kits, masks and medical equipment from China following allegations of large-scale corruption in the deal, and of the goods being much below the standards specified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The OMNI Tech group had been awarded the contract on the condition that it would import the goods within five days after the Health Department terminated the tender process that it had started more than two months ago.
Public Health Department Director General Mahendra Shrestha said the contract signed with the OMNI group has been canceled, and that “the government has also confiscated a Nepal Rs 50 million deposit
amount for the over deal that was worth over a billion rupees”.
The cancellation of the contract comes four days after the OMNI Tech group, which has alleged connections with the Prime Minister’s secretariat, had brought ten tonnes of goods from China and had chartered another flight for Guangzhou to ferry a second consignment for Thursday.
The government’s decision also means that there could be acute shortage of equipment and testing kids Nepal, which has been put under a two-week lockdown as a preventing measure against the spread of coronavirus.
Dr Madhu Ghimire, a senior physician said, “In spite of our constant advise for more than two months, the government made a last-minute decision to procure essentials in the last minute, with a purpose that was well-served by paying three times the actual market price in the pretext of urgency and difficulty in availing.”