- A public-private partnership between the Government and the Ba Chamber of Commerce saw the construction of a 64-bed new hospital for the people of Ba by September, 2016.
- While signing a Memorandum of Understanding of the $35m project in Suva in June, 2015, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said the partnership which was first of its kind in the country will benefit not only the people of Ba but nearby areas as well as the new facility will have enough space.
- The new hospital which is being constructed by Yanjian Group (Fiji) Limited will provide a birthing unit, a 24 hour emergency facility, an x-ray and scan department, a laboratory, a dental unit, operating theaters, a mortuary and a pharmacy.
On 9 April 2016 the Fiji Procurement Office called for tender to "Supply, Installation and Commissioning of Hospital Equipment at BA Hospital for Ministry of Health and Medical Services." The closing date was 11 May. Now, documents leaked from inside FICAC reveal that a complaint calling for investigation has been filed against CHEMSTREET, one of the suppliers:
RE: Ministry of Health, Fiji Tender Scam: 2015-2016
- This letter is to bring to your attention the corrupt practices going in the awarding of Ministry of Health tenders for the purchase of medical equipment. Under the former health minister [Dr Neil Sharma] all purchases were made directly with the manufacturers, eliminating middle-man companies. Many middle-man companies with their local links lost business and probably plot the former minister in a scam to get rid of him.
- The procurement team at FPBS for medical equipment was Solomone Suguta, Nehal Kapadia and Aman Sharma. Solomone Suguta was directly involved in preparation of tender specification and other documents. Nehal Kapadia and Solomone Suguta left the health ministry due to suspicious activity which was to be investigated. Nehal Kapadia’s uncle owns South Austral, an Australian medical supplies company. It was suspected that Nehal was supplying confidential commercial information of other companies (products brands and prices) to South Austral since she was directly handling the tender documents. Solomone Suguta was suspected of taking bribe from equipment suppliers to falsify tender technical evaluation documents thus removing most companies from first round of evaluation and strongly recommending the company he favoured in all tender evaluation committee sittings/meetings. He also left FPBS before investigation could start.
- It is believed both took complete supplier information database from FPBS with them in flash drives which includes company details, financial status, products line and price points. Nehal is believed to have passed the information to South Austral. She now works for FNU. Solomone Suguta is believed to be in possession of the supplier data and recently joined a local company named Chemstreet.
- Chemstreet is owned by Pravish [Parvish Kumar] who is a chemistry lecturer at FNU. Chemstreet has been supplying chemicals to FNU, USP. There was a government tender in 2015 to supply medical equipments. Solomone provided the data to Chemstreet and they bid for this tender which was worth US$5Million.
- Chemstreet, a chemical supplies company is awarded the tender in 2015 worth US$5Million to supply medical equipment. The company has no medical equipment supply history, no biomedical engineering background, no reference installation sites, and no product history.
- Solomone Suguta holds no formal qualification. According to reliable sources in the hospital many types of equipment were bought online by Chemstreet from Alibaba.com and supplied to MOH under this tender. They know this from the quality and brand of the equipment.
How did this happen
MOH Medical Equipment Tender awarding process, the unethical and corrupt practice and the network of individuals involved.
Stage 1 - Tender Preparation: The Beginning
MoH does the survey and prepares the list of equipments to be purchased for various hospitals and health centres around the country. The survey is done by Aman Sharma from FPBS and Biomedical Technicians from Suva, Lautoka, Labasa.
Aman Sharma passes the equipment list to Solomone Suguta at Chemstreet. Solomone Suguta starts contacting suppliers and manufacturers to obtain distributorship or agency for Fiji. The authorization letter is a requirement in the tender bidding documents. Solomone is very well versed with the tendering process since he was preparing the documents himself while working at FPBS.
Solomone Suguta prepares the technical specification for the equipments in the list provided by Aman Sharma. Solomone with no technical qualification basically copies (Cut and Paste) the equipment technical specification from product brochures and catalogues provided by the equipment manufacturers. He was doing the same while working at FPBS. The specifications are copied from equipment brochures that Chemstreet has in its product portfolio which it can supply and holds the dealership letter from the manufacturers for it.
Solomone Suguta passes the technical specification he prepared for the equipments in the list to Aman Sharma. Aman Sharma puts this technical specification in Section 2 of the tender documents. Aman Sharma and his associates prepare the full tender bidding documents and send it to Fiji Procurement Office (FPO). FPO calls the tender by advertising in the local newspaper.
In the Tender Bidding Documents Section 2 is stated as: Section 2: Technical Specification and additional requirement
Any experienced supplier/manufacturer can look at the specification prepared by Solomone and Aman and exactly identify the brand and model of the product that the specification was copied. There is another condition they put in the tender document to eliminate very good and honest suppliers with quality equipment. Some of these companies are owned by one of the best biomedical engineers in the Oceania region. They put Local Technician/support. In what era are these people living. With internet technology an engineer from any part of the globe can connect to any instrument remotely, run diagnostics and fix the problem or rectify the problem and send spare parts immediately. There are 6-8 flights daily from NZ/Australia, 4 flights per week to HK, direct flight to Singapore. An engineer can arrive in Fiji within 24hrs notice. Even the MOH Biomedical Technicians based at CWM Hospital don’t attend to faults in 24hrs. Talk to any doctor, nurse, lab technician and dentist and they will give you the feedback on the status of biomeds at CWM. The condition Local Technician/support should be removed from all tender documents. It is null/void and senseless.
Stage 2 - Tender Closes and Evaluation Process starts.
Aman Sharma and his associates present the evaluation chart to the tender committee which consists of shortlisted bidders/suppliers. Since the specification was prepared by Solomone for equipments that his company will supply, most bidders (suppliers) are eliminated in this first round. The reason given is DOES NOT MEET ALL TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
Aman Sharma and his associates then select the 2 weakest bidders and put them against Chemstreet and submit to the final tender committee meeting. Aman and his team strongly recommend Chemstreet and the board finally awards the tender to Chemstreet. Aman Sharma and his associates get their cut. Solomone gets a huge bonus from the company and the vicious cycle continues for the next tender.
The people of Fiji should know the answers to below. Jone Usumate very proudly told the public on national TV during his inauguration as the Minister for Health that MOH will go directly to manufacturers to purchase medical equipment. He also mentioned that all preventive maintenance and repairs to expensive specialist equipment will be performed by qualified individuals from overseas. Who are the individuals involved in this corrupt network at FPBS (Fiji Procurement and Biomedical Services) and MOH Headquarters? This is happening right under the nose of the health minister and other directors at MOH.
Who are these individuals?
· The Minister for Health – Jone Usumate
· The Directors at MOH
· The Finance team at MOH
· Fiji Procurement Officers
· The Director [FPBS] – Ratish Singh
· Chief Pharmacist – Apolosi [Vosanibola]
· Procurement Officers apart from Aman Sharma and his associates
· Tender Committee members – who are in the tender evaluation committee
What qualification and experience the tender committee members hold. Are they so dumb and useless that they award tenders to a chemical supplier company with no medical equipment supplies history. It is about time the medical equipment procurement is handled by qualified individuals with at least 15 years experience in biomedical engineering otherwise outsourcing the service.
The Director, FICAC, Sir, I have utmost trust in your office and I hope you will start investigation immediately suspending the suspects from civil service and stopping all further payment to Chemstreet. Withdraw the awarded tender to prevent further damage. Cheap old technology equipment is being dumped in Fiji hospitals by this company. The people will suffer due to inaccurate results and wrong diagnosis.
Fijileaks: We are still waiting for comments from those cited in this letter to FICAC. As for FICAC, it never bothers to respond to Fijileaks.