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Two senior Health officials arrested in the wake of Molnupiravir inquiry

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Two senior Health officials arrested in the wake of Molnupiravir inquiry
Photo Credit: l'Express

Two senior executives of the Ministry of Health are the first heads to roll in the wake of the its investigation into the controversial purchase of 990,000 tablets of Molnupiravir by CPN Distributors.

Only weeks after the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) began its investigation, Brijendrasingh Naeck, Principal Pharmacist and Doorgeshsing Juwaheer, Senior Pharmacist at the Ministry of Health, were arrested during the week. They were brought to court in Port Louis on charges of “public official using office for gratification in favour of supplier.”

Defi Media reported that the anti-graft agency accuses two senior health executives as having used their position to facilitate the purchase of these tablets.

The two men were released after paying a bail of Rs 35,000 and acknowledged debt of Rs 1 million.

According to l’Express newspaper, Brijendrasingh Naeck, who sits on the procurement board, allegedly failed to inform the ministry that another medical company was quoting a Molnupiravir tablet at Rs 9.35, eight times cheaper than the quote of CPN Distributors. The Ministry of Health ended up ordering 3 million pills instead of 1.2 million pills.

Doorgeshsing Jawaheer, senior pharmacist at the Ministry of Health’s import department, allegedly facilitated the process by granting an import permit to CPN Distributors within 24 hours, allegedly without conducting any due diligence.

Defi Media earlier cited Younous Ravate, Honorary Consul of Mauritius in Reunion, as claiming that officials from the Ministry of Health had sought his assistance on November 9, 2021, to facilitate the import of Tocilizumab. The controversial contract had been allocated to CPN Distributors, which according to press reports, had no expertise and experience in such dealings.

The Consul claimed that the Minister of Health and Wellness called him personally after the intervention. “The Minister personally called me afterwards to thank me and told me that your Prime Minister was aware and was very grateful to me.”

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The information and opinions expressed in our published works are those of authors/sources believed to be reliable. NewsMoris makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information expressed.