Criminal case of East Tallinn Central Hospital CEO sent to prosecution

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Ralf Allikvee. Source: East Tallinn Central Hospital

The criminal case of East Tallinn Central Hospital manager Ralf Allikvee, who was suspended as CEO of the hospital over suspicion of corruption and whose powers were restored following the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic, has been sent to the prosecutor's' office.

The North District Prosecutor's Office will now decide based on investigation materials whether or not to bring suspicions against Allikvee and send the case to court.

The scandal broke at the end of January 2020 when officials of the corruption crimes department of the Central Criminal Police apprehended Allikvee, three more employees of East Tallinn Central Hospital, and entrepreneur Ants Mäelt.

With the investigation presently concluded, suspects in the criminal case altogether number seven.

Allikvee and two doctors are suspected of violating requirements for public procurement to a large extent. The doctors and a secretary of the hospital are also suspected of accepting a bribe. According to the suspicion, when carrying out a tender for a medical device, one specific company participating in the procurement was favored. In addition to hospital employees, Ants Mäelt, a representative of the company suspected to have won the tender illegally, was also detained. Mäelt is suspected of giving bribes on repeated occasions.

According to the suspicion, Mäelt repeatedly gave bribes to East Tallinn Central Hospital's doctors and secretary from December 20 2017, until January 17 2020, paid for events and hotel bills of the hospital's center of spinal surgery as well as the secretary's travel expenses, sweets, wines and other things.

Pursuant to the suspicion, in return, the doctors had knowingly violated the Public Procurement Act from at least May 24 2016, and purchased additional instruments for operations from the company OÜ Antsma without holding a public tender. OÜ Hansaspine, a company with links to Mäelt was also favored by the doctors in public procurement for purchasing instruments used in spinal surgery.

According to the suspicion, East Tallinn Central Hospital entered into a framework contract worth €2,880,000 with OÜ Hansaspine on September 28 2018, even though OUÜ Hansaspine should not have been permitted to participate in the tender. The hospital's secretary is suspected of assisting Mäelt in compiling invoices from Antsma and Hansaspine to the hospital's center of spinal surgery from June 2019.

East Tallinn Central Hospital is suspected of transferring altogether €2,679,533 for instruments used in surgery to OÜ Antsma's bank account from May 24 2016 until December 18 2019, and €181,284.44 to OÜ Hansaspine's bank account from September 28 2018, until December 31 2019.

It is said in the suspicion that the hospital should not have bought said instruments from OÜ Antsma without holding a public procurement and that it also should not have entered into a procurement contract with OU Hansaspine.

Allikvee's powers as chairman of the hospital's management board were suspended by the supervisory board upon the eruption of the scandal at the end of January 2020. Two months later, the supervisory board restored Allikvee's powers due to the coronavirus crisis. The proposal to restore Allikvee's powers was made by Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart.

Investigation in the criminal matter was led by the North District Prosecutor's Office and carried out by the corruption crimes department of the Central Criminal Police.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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