Probe launched into COVID equipment procurement corruption

Kathmandu: Allegations of corruption have surfaced against traders, including businessman Vishal Pandit, and a company regarding the procurement of medical equipment for COVID-19 treatment.

The allegations have prompted an investigation by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), with specific charges filed against government officials and medical professionals at a special court in Kathmandu today.

According to CIAA, the state incurred losses totaling NPR 28,966,650 in irregularities related to the purchase of supplies for the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at Koshi Hospital, located in Biratnagar. The authority alleges discrepancies in tendering processes, accusing authorities of favoring certain suppliers and neglecting to address low-quality submissions.

Among those named in the case are Vishal Pandit, managing director of Hospital Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Kushal Dahal, a biomedical engineer at the State Supply Management Centre of Koshi Province, Chandradev Mehta, director of Health Directorate in Dhankuta, and finance officer Dandasim Vik and procurement officer Udesh Shrestha.

Additionally, the CIAA has brought charges against Laxmi Acharya, managing director of Hospital International and Market Manager, for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

The investigation follows complaints of irregularities in the procurement process for essential medical equipment required for COVID-19 treatment, particularly concerning the HDU at Koshi Hospital. The accused individuals and company representatives are facing charges under anti-corruption laws.