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Health ministry seizes ventilators to secure non-delivery claims

Hanna Bardo/PAP

Over 400 medical ventilators have been seized at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport in the latest twist to a medical procurement scandal dating back to the first wave of the pandemic.

The ventilators were apparently seized as securement of the health ministry’s non-delivery claims against a supplier, the ministry informed PAP on Thursday.

Just why the ventilators were at the airport was not made clear by the ministry.

PAP learnt unofficially that each of the 418 ventilators at the airport is worth at least EUR 25,000, which means their sale should cover the ministry’s losses.

E&K, the supplier in question, signed a deal with the ministry in 2020, during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, to supply over 1,000 ventilators but failed to fulfill the contract.

The firm, allegedly owned by an arms dealer, supplied the ministry with only 200 ventilators after cashing in an EUR 14 million advance payment on the deal. The ministry withdrew from the contract, demanding repayment of the advanced sum.

The company has also been fined 10 percent of the value of the undelivered ventilators.

To date the ministry has managed to secure about EUR 5.8 million of E&K’s obligations on the deal.

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