PAC: Covid-19 medical procurement and aid need audit

PETALING JAYA: A special audit must be carried out on the procurement of medical equipment and medicine during the Covid-19 pandemic following a recent disclosure by the anti-graft body of suspected corruption, says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said he had officially brought the matter up with the Auditor-General on Thursday.

He said the special audit was necessary as questions had been raised over abuse of power in aid distribution and stimulus packages given out by the government.

“The audit should be expedited with the report tabled before the bipartisan committee as soon as possible.

“This will allow the PAC to identify if there are irregularities, leakages or abuse of power,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Wong said the PAC would be empowered by Parliament to call up the Finance Ministry, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and agencies involved to give an explanation on the issue.

On Tuesday, MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki said there were elements of corruption involving the procurement of medical equipment and medicine for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Among them are abuse of power in relief aid, falsified medical protective equipment and bribery of enforcement officers when enforcing the movement control order.

Following this, former health minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said he would cooperate with the MACC in its investigations.

Separately, MCA spokesman Chan Quin Er said the Health Ministry should beef up its mechanism to combat graft and improve good governance.

She said the party viewed allegations of corruption involving the procurement and purchase of medical equipment and medicines very seriously.

“Cooperation from all quarters will ensure that those involved in power abuse are prosecuted.

“The ministry should strengthen its mechanism through the existing Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan to improve good governance and ensure that this issue does not recur,” she said in a statement.

Chan added that MCA has been consistent in taking a firm stance against corruption, malpractices and power abuse because such acts result in leakages.

“According to the reports, enforcement officers assigned to enforce the MCO were alleged to have abused their authority in the distribution of aid and stimulus packages.

“The quality and quantity of personal protection equipment purchased during the pandemic are also said to be tainted with corruption. The connection between corruption and economic leakages is strong and cannot be ignored.”

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