Coronavirus, tenders and assignments targeted by Turin prosecutors: from non-compliant masks to higher prices after assignment

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After having focused the lens on deaths in the rsa and having started dozens of investigations (some for manslaughter), the Turin prosecutor turns on a beacon on the methods – tenders and assignments – with which the Piemonte region it procured the necessary protective equipment, tampons and sanitary materials during the pandemic. The Guardia di Finanza knocked on the doors of theRegion crisis unit – the large control room built to deal with the Covid-19 emergency – to acquire documents useful for the investigation. The investigators’ activity is coordinated by the vicar prosecutor Enrica Gabetta and stems from a series of complaints sent to the prosecutor’s office by consumer unions, doctors, nurses, health professionals and citizens.

At the center of the investigation, there are public tenders, direct assignments and all the methods (including exceptional, given the emergency situation) that have been adopted by the Region to buy materials. In particular, in many complaints analyzed by the financiers reference is made to alleged irregularities relating to the finding masks, gloves, overalls and anti-Covid devices. Altered, increased prices, modified during construction, supplies never delivered, to the detriment of doctors and nurses who have worked with unsuitable tools for weeks, are some of the issues reported to investigators by the signatories of the complaints. Furthermore, there would be the question of “non-compliant” material.

There would be entire batches of non-compliant masks withdrawn from hospitals because “out of the norm”. Who ordered them? Where is it? And with what money? The protections, at the beginning, were scarce everywhere, not only in the rsa. Many doctors in the hospital were forced to use the same fpp2 for three consecutive days. Others were forced to wear disposable gowns to be closed with adhesive tape. Even in these cases, the power of attorney aims to verify why was such poor material paid for? and sent to health professionals who fought on the front lines against a virus that was difficult to eradicate. There is a company that would have won one of the tenders for the lots of “face shield“And” masks “that later the award would independently raise the price. A second company would have done the same for “standard sterile” lab coats. China would have gone through the supply of suits from one company to another in an unclear way. It is true, and investigators are aware of this, that in a similar emergency phase, there would not have been time to analyze many situations in depth. And sometimes the races would not have been possible, even indirectly. In any case, the power of attorney intends to verify: which companies were chosen, which were the Italian companies that sold goods purchased abroad. Then, there is the question of expensive prices: why did they always increase day after day? To shed light on such complex issues, Finance will complete the acquisition of documents by sifting through the papers of Scr, the regional commissioning company (Scr). At the moment, all areas of investigation are purely cognitive.

There is also a second investigation, always conducted by Finance and led by the prosecutor, on contracts in the local health authorities, which currently sees 19 suspects. It started before the pandemic, but continues during this period. The Regional Health Councilor of Piedmont, Luigi Genesio Icardi, declares: “We have envisaged a specific anti-corruption and surveillance sector in the Health Department that will shortly be activated to counteract these phenomena. On the merits of today, it is entirely premature to express assessments, if not to thank those who conduct the investigations that aim to bring out any criminal episodes: I express my firmest condemnation regarding crimes, such as auction disturbance and corruption, particularly serious “.

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