Top Puerto Rico officials under scrutiny for COVID-19 kits - InfoNews

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Top Puerto Rico officials under scrutiny for COVID-19 kits

Elismarie Cruz, manager at Sarkis restaurant, wears a mask as a precaution against COVID-19 while standing in the middle of an improvised food delivery station, in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Thursday, May 21, 2020. Puerto Rico is cautiously reopening beaches, restaurants, churches, malls, and hair salons under strict conditions as the U.S. territory emerges from a two-month lockdown despite dozens of new coronavirus cases reported daily. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) PUERTO RICO OUT-NO PUBLICAR EN PUERTO RICO
June 29, 2020 - 3:21 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A group of legislators probing the failed government purchase of $38 million worth of COVID-19 testing kits referred the names of 11 people including top public officials to the FBI and other agencies on Monday for further investigation.

The report issued by the health committee of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives comes amid an ongoing investigation into the purchase order cancelled earlier this year, with the government recuperating its $19 million deposit.

Among those who could face further scrutiny is Puerto Rico’s chief of staff, the director of the Office of Management and Budget and the presidents of companies that had pledged to deliver the kits.

Those named in the report have denied any wrongdoing.

One manufacturing company said it was selling the kits for less than half the value identified by one Puerto Rico company involved.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez had initially defended the attempted purchase, only to do an abrupt turn around a week later. She also ordered cancelled all unrelated government contracts awarded to the companies under scrutiny.

It’s still unclear who approved the $38 million purchase of testing kits. Vázquez has repeatedly said she was never aware of the intended purchase despite a contract of that size.

Puerto Rico’s health secretary has said the FBI is investigating.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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