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Persons linked to ‘overpricing’ of medical equipment summoned by NBI - Duterte

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has begun its probe into allegations of overpricing in the government’s planned purchase of medical equipment amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.

Duterte told Congress that the individuals linked to the supposed overpricing of  automated extraction machines have been summoned by the NBI to determine whether there was a violation of the Price Act and the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

The President did not give further details.

Last week, Duterte directed the NBI to investigate allegations that Omnibus Bio-Medical Systems. Inc. tried to get the government to buy automated extraction machines at a high price.

Omnibus did not win the contract, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Omnibus confirmed last Friday that it offered the automated extraction machine for P4.3 million to the DBM on April 23. However, the company said the package included 25,000 NATCH consumables, which are the plastics that are used to conduct RNA extraction.

The package also included costs such as air transport, destination charges, storage, warehousing, local delivery fees, warranties, as well as peripheral accessories needed to run the machine, preventive maintenance and technical calibration fees, bonds, and retention.

Omnibus offered another package priced at P4 million to the DBM on May 6.

“It was a slightly lower price because the machine and NATCH consumables were priced separately.  That was the only difference. All other additional costs were included,” the company had said.

Omnibus also said the private sector’s targeted testing initiative (Project ARK) was able to purchase the same medical equipment for only P1.75 million because it was the latter who paid the additional costs for air transport, destination charges, storage, and warehousing. -- BAP, GMA News