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Wed May 20, 2020, 06:14 PM

Bolivia fires health minister as probe begins over ventilator deal


Minister removed over corruption case concerning purchase of medical ventilators from Spanish firm GPA Innova, using IDB funds, officials say.

Bolivian authorities on Wednesday fired the country's health minister and launched a probe into potential corruption after officials allegedly bought ventilators at inflated prices, underscoring the global challenge to prevent graft amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Press reports on the steep premium paid for the ventilators, bought at $27,683 each, sparked social media backlash against the South American country's government, which received Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funds to purchase the devices in May.

Bolivia's state prosecutor said in a statement on Wednesday that four health ministry officials had been detained over the scandal and that some officials abroad and intermediaries involved in the deal would also be investigated.


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