ANSA McAL gets $515 M in sweet­heart deal

Weekend Mirror - - CHILDREN’S CORNER -

The

gov­ern­ment is sweep­ing aside all crit­i­cisms of the scan­dalous drug deal with ANSA MsAL and has agreed to pay the com­pany $515.1 mil­lion.

The Public Pro­cure­ment Com­mis­sion had in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter and found that the coun­try’s laws were bro­ken in ac­quir­ing emer­gency phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sup­plies for the Ge­orge­town Public Hospi­tal Cor­po­ra­tion.

A probe done by the Board of GPHC said the CEO of that com­pany acted “reck­lessly” in procur­ing the sup­plies.

These rev­e­la­tions have not de­terred the Cab­i­net from ap­prov­ing pay­ment to ANSA McAL.

Min­is­ter of Health, Volda Lawrence, has been ac­cused by the op­po­si­tion PPP of know­ingly ap­prov­ing and fast track­ing the trans­ac­tion, an ac­cu­sa­tion which she has de­nied.

The ini­tial sum de­manded by ANSA McAL, a Trinida­dian firm, was $632 mil­lion but this was re­duced.

It was also found that some of the drugs un­der this ar­range­ment can­not be deemed as “emer­gency sup­plies” and raised more public sus­pi­cion as the rea­son for what some con­sid­ered to be a sweet­heart deal.

ANSA McAL re­cently con­structed an arch over the East Coast public road, on the outer perime­ter of the city, with the pres­i­den­tial cacique crown on top of it. The oc­ca­sion was the in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary of the Repub­lic. It was fully fi­nanced by ANSA McAL.

The Op­po­si­tion is leav­ing the mat­ter like that and will be bring­ing the mater up in the Na­tional As­sem­bly.

PPP Assem­bly­man and for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Anil Nand­lall, re­cently posited that the Cab­i­net can­not le­git­imize an il­le­gal­ity. In an ar­ti­cle pub­lished last week he stated:

It ought to be clear that this cab­i­net de­ci­sion re­lates to the con­tro­ver­sial and un­law­ful pro­cure­ment of drugs, con­trary to and in breach of the Pro­cure­ment Act, by the Ge­orge­town Public Hospi­tal Cor­po­ra­tion (GPHC) from Ansa McAl to the tune of $515,178,268. It is im­per­a­tive that this doc­u­ment be scru­ti­nized to ap­pre­ci­ate its var­i­ous lev­els of de­cep­tion and sophistry.

1 Based upon the con­tent of the doc­u­ment, it is clear that this mat­ter was first con­sid­ered by cab­i­net on a pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sion and trans­mit­ted to a cab­i­net sub-com­mit­tee for con­sid­er­a­tion.

2 It was con­sid­ered by that sub-com­mit­tee and re­turned to cab­i­net for cab­i­net to stamp it with some form of im­pri­matur/le­git­i­macy.

3 It is clear that cab­i­net did so, us­ing re­mark­ably vague lan­guage.

4 It should be ob­served that cab­i­net scrupu­lously avoided the use of the word ‘ap­proved’ in re­spect of the report which em­anated from its sub-com­mit­tee, which is the nor­mal par­lance used by cab­i­net in such cir­cum­stances. 5 It should also be ob­served that the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance did not seek cab­i­net’s ap­proval; in­stead, he brought it for cab­i­net to “note”, so it was brought for cab­i­net’s ‘no­ti­fi­ca­tion’ and not ‘ap­proval.’

It is public knowl­edge that the total value of the con­tract for drugs un­law­fully pro­cured from Ansa McAl is $605,962,200. My in­for­ma­tion is that $90,783,932 was al­ready paid to Ansa McAl by a pre­vi­ous cab­i­net deci- sion. This was clearly done when the con­tro­versy did not reach the gi­gan­tic pro­por­tions to which it even­tu­ally ex­ploded. I sur­mise that cab­i­net found it­self in a co­nun­drum af­ter the con­tro­versy erupted and es­pe­cially when the mat­ter was trans­mit­ted to the Public Pro­cure­ment Com­mis­sion (PPC) for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The prob­lem was fur­ther com­pounded be­cause de­spite the in­ter­nal wran­gling which is emerg­ing from the PPC in terms of who should be held re­spon­si­ble for the vi­o­la­tions of the Pro­cure­ment Act, it is abun­dantly clear that there is a unan­i­mous find­ing by that com­mis­sion that the Pro­cure­ment Act was breached. I have ex­pressed the view al­ready, which I re­it­er­ate now, that no min­is­ter of the gov­ern­ment or the cab­i­net has the author­ity to waive or au­tho­rize the waiver of the Pro­cure­ment Act in re­spect of any trans­ac­tion to which it ap­plies.

Rec­og­niz­ing that he is be­ing faced with a fait ac­com­pli of an un­law­ful trans­ac­tion which has al­ready taken place, the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance, by this in­stru­ment, is now seek­ing cov­er­age from cab­i­net be­fore he au­tho­rizes pay­ment of $515,178,268 to Ansa McAl. It is ob­vi­ous that this sum would have to be with­drawn by the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance from the Con­tin­gency Funds, for which he will later seek the ap­proval of the Na­tional As­sem­bly. Min­is­ter Jor­dan and the cab­i­net are ob­vi­ously pro­tect­ing them­selves and are ob­vi­ously in­vok­ing the prin­ci­ple of col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity of cab­i­net in re­spect of au­tho­riz­ing an ob­vi­ously un­law­ful pay­ment. Un­for­tu­nately, for this gov­ern­ment, a cab­i­net de­ci­sion can­not le­git­imize an il­le­gal­ity.

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