Marcelo Navajas was arrested by police in La Paz, said police chief Ivan Rojas, a day after interim president Jeanine Anez ordered an investigation. Two other Ministry of Health officials have also been arrested.
Bolivia purchased 179 respirators from a manufacturer in Spain for $ 27,683 each, representing nearly $ 5 million in total. That was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank. Two bank employees have been called upon to make witness statements.
But later it turned out that the manufacturer offered the equipment for 9500 to 11,000 euros each (10,312 to 11,941 dollars).
Another Spanish company acted as an intermediary in the transaction.
The scandal came to light at the end of last week when doctors in intensive care complained that the fans were not suitable for Bolivian ICUs. Then it turned out that they had been bought at outrageously high prices.
Bolivia has reported 4,500 coronavirus cases and 190 deaths. On March 17, the government closed the landlocked borders of the South American country and instituted a general lockdown.
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