New GPC, others face scrutiny as forensic audit into drugs procurement begins

New GPC, others face scrutiny as forensic audit into drugs procurement begins

JULY 13, 2015 | BY KNEWS |– says Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma



Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma disclosed that his team of auditors is already one week into the forensic audit launched into the Ministry of Health and the Georgetown Public Hospital to once and for all settle the decade old controversy over the procurement of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

This has come as good news for some legal and financial minds, who believe that the move is long overdue.
Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo in a brief interview, noted that the forensic audit into the GPHC will see an investigation into past procurement, expired drugs and those companies that are part of the “procurement gravy train including New GPC.”
This company is owned by Dr. Bobby Ramroop, who has close ties to former President Bharrat Jagdeo. 

Over the years, A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) have spoken against the award of billion dollar drug contracts in favour of the New GPC owner.

They have also spoken about the manner in which the previous administration changed the laws to ensure that Ramroop’s company would be used for the sole sourcing of drugs.

When it served in the opposition, the current administration had lashed out at the PPP/C for granting billions of dollars worth in contracts to NEW GPC during the lead up to the May 11 National and Regional Elections.
On May 8, last, New GPC uplifted the entire billion-dollar cheque for a drug contract awarded to that company.

That was the last working day before General and Regional elections. The payment arrangement was also contrary to all the country’s procurement procedures.
Traditionally, 25 per cent of the contract is paid up front.
AFC Leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, had said that the situation surrounding the health contracts and New GPC is nothing but “kick-down-the door banditry.”

Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, had said that he finds the actions of the previous Government in the lead up to the May 11 polls, to be evidence of how “evil, corrupt, greedy and ruthless” it can be.

He had stated that days before May 11, the past administration sought to chastise the media, particularly Kaieteur News and Stabroek News when the entities exposed its “nasty and most corrupt acts.”

This newspaper had reported that the former administration had given out contracts for the procurement of drugs worth some US$12.8 million ($2,677,864,510) to New GPC.
Three Cabinet Minutes had been leaked and reproduced in the electronic media. The document showed that Cabinet approved its most expensive contract for $6,730,526 dated April 23, 2015. It was signed by former Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon.

Greenidge had said that the PPP/C has given so much to Dr. Ramroop by breaking the laws that it has made him a king in his country.
“Another critical point we need to pay attention to, and that is the fact, that Ramroop was given the opportunity to supply almost 85 percent of the country’s drugs for nearly 20 years.

Considering the empire he has been able to build through the sole sourcing of drugs, we see clearly, too, for how long value for money in the health sector has been evaded.”
It is estimated that over the past seven years more than US$200 million was spent on drug purchases, with the lion’s share going to New GPC.

Greenidge had said that the control Jagdeo gave Ramroop over the health sector is not only unhealthy for the competitive market, but it also mars attempts at transparency and accountability.

The politician had reiterated that through the sole sourcing of drugs, “Jagdeo and his government did not only ruthlessly rob the nation, but invited his best friend to help to further corrupt the system and to rob the poor people at the same time.”
The pre-qualification criteria which were used to allow New GPC to be chosen, had also been described by the government as being “unreasonable” and tailor-made to have that company secure the status.

The previous list of companies that were pre-qualified to supply drugs expired since December, last. Prior to inviting submissions for another round of pre-qualification, the PPP/C revised the criteria. This led to the accusations that it was positioning New GPC to be the only company meeting the requirements to win out.

Under the revised criteria, bidders had to demonstrate a gross annual turnover of US$5 million and net assets of US$2.5 million.
Another criterion was that maximum score was to be awarded to applicants who would have paid $50M in Corporate taxes, annually. Additionally, the company that has 50 or more employees, and warehousing capacity of 30,000 square feet in the city, will also gain an edge.

New GPC has been a feature in the Auditor General’s report over the years with several instances focused on multi-million-dollar deficiencies in the procurement and supply of drugs under the previous administration.

Note: New GPC are the Guyana agents for many products they also produce many locally (see list)

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  • Winston Yaw  On 07/14/2015 at 11:20 am

    If the new GPC owner was Bro Jag friend I can see the endless possibilities for fraud. Overpriced expired drugs bought cheaply. The Guyana taxpayer is charged full price, the difference is split between the Min facilitator. GPC charges the public full or inflated prices because they have the supply cornered, all the bad actors profit, and the poor people of Guyana are the losers irrespective of political affiliations, or racial identities. Guyana needs to enact racketeering laws that allows the Government to claw back money obtained by fraudulent means. It works very well in the U.S. and I do not see why it cannot work in Guyana. It would whichever party is in power the means of making the retrieving money stolen from the people easier. Bad drugs kill, bad doctors prescribing bad drugs also kill patients who expect get value for their money

  • sirenagx  On 07/14/2015 at 5:26 pm

    just do the audit and prosecute wrong doing. Therei is too much smoke and no fire so far. Make public asap results of these audits and actions taken.

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