KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Only 28 of the 136 ventilators obtained by the Health Ministry (MoH) through the emergency procurement procedure could be used, according to the Auditor-General’s Report for the Year 2021 Series 2 released today.
The remaining 108 units, supplied by a company only referred to as 260790-T, could not be used because they were unsuitable and unsafe for patients.
Following this, the MoH returned only 15 of them to the manufacturer while compensation amounting to RM13.07 million for the other 93 units could not be claimed because there was no procurement documentation between company 260790-T and MoH.
“No documents related to ventilator procurement transactions were submitted to auditors, who also were unable to confirm the role and responsibility of company 260790-T as a company that managed the procurement of ventilators and who dealt with the manufacturers,” the report read.
Earlier, Auditor-General Datuk Seri Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid said findings from the audit report revealed that 93 ventilators in government hospitals were found to be non-functioning and did not meet the required standards.
He said the MoH in response had also informed that the machines could not be modified as they were purchased off the shelf and without warranty and that attempts by contractors to fix them had been unsuccessful.
The audit report also stated that the ventilator procurement process was initiated after the Cabinet on March 25, 2020 had agreed to give an exception to the MoH to acquire 500 additional ventilator units from company 260790-T to meet an urgent need for them at that time.
The procurement, estimated at RM50 million, was made through the emergency procurement procedures under Treasury Circular (PB) 3.3 and Treasury Directive 99.
However, based on MoH procurement records, the company was only able to supply as many as 136 ventilator units with a procurement cost of RM20.1 million which was later revised to RM24.07 million on Sept 1, 2020.
Meanwhile, the report also stated that the MoH had spent a total of RM4.462 billion for the procurement of 75.88 million doses of Comirnaty, AstraZeneca, CoronaVac and Convidecia vaccines until April 2022.
However, the audit report revealed that out of that number, 11.59 million doses were not used and that 1.1 million doses had expired between one and 212 days.
It also stated that the MoH has a significant excess stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) which caused storage problems and potentially could not be used due to their expiry dates.
In this regard, the auditors recommend that the MoH raise awareness among the adult population on the need for vaccine booster shots to minimise the number of expired doses, and also to manage medical equipment obtained during an emergency more effectively and prudently.