The Honduran government paid $47 million for seven mobile hospitals to expand its bed space for the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago, but only two are in use and two former government officials involved in their purchase are jailed on fraud charges.
The purchase of the hospitals — shipping containers outfitted for medical use that can be connected and configured to operate as field hospitals — has become Honduras’ greatest pandemic-related scandal.
A Honduran judge ordered Marco Antonio Bográn and Alex Alberto Moraes, the former executive director and former administrative manager respectively of Invest-H, the government’s development project agency, to be jailed Friday. It was another glaring case of the deep-seated corruption in Honduran public services.
Experts decided the purchase price was hugely inflated, the entire cost was paid up front without guarantees for delivery, which was delayed for months, and the government used an unnecessary intermediary. When they did arrive, they didn’t meet the requirements to safely house COIVD-19 patients and most were so shoddily assembled that they were unusable. And this in a country struggling to obtain COVID-19 vaccine doses.