Chief prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi has warned on Tuesday over the corruption practices in the healthcare, arguing there are major vulnerabilities which directly impact on the citizens’ life.
She exemplified a former hospital manager in Romania had raised EUR 12 million from bribe, by hiding the fraud behind false documents.
Another example revealed by the head of the anti-corruption watchdog was of a county hospital manager who used to take 10 to 15 percent of the invoices he issued. Therefore, he managed to raise EUR 1.2 M from bribe. He was indicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in one file, and to another six years behind bars in another case.
Kovesi talked about more corruption cases in the healthcare, which had been already judged by the Romanian courts, yet warning that, despite the sentences, the bribe mechanisms are repetitive. Corruption is mainly spread in e-procurement, medical services, medical staff hiring, hospital budgets and granting operating permits for pharmacies.
Usually, the bribe is given directly to the hospital manager or through some consultancy firms. Kovesi said that DNA prosecutors have found out that more and more such off shore companies are set up for this purpose.
Bribe tariffs are usually known, as they are fix percentages from e-procurement contracts or about certain sums to hire someone in the healthcare. So, to be hired as a nurse attendant one must pay EUR 1,500, and EUR 2,500 to get a nurse position. An ambulance driver has to pay EUR 1,000 to get hired.
“The corruption issue will not be solved only through investigations, but also through prevention and education,” said Kovesi, also accusing there are no efficient internal control bodies.
DNA head Kovesi and Romania’s Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar, have attended a seminar organized by DNA on the topic of corruption in healthcare.