Two North Estonia Medical Center doctors suspected of bribe-taking
Two doctors of the Orthopedics Center of the North Estonia Medical Center (PERH) are suspected of violating public procurement requirements and taking bribes, one of them also of fraud. The two doctors are currently on vacation and the hospital will make further decisions based on the development of the investigation.
The North District Prosecutor's Office told daily newspaper Postimees that in the middle of last month, officers of the Central Criminal Police conducted proceedings against two doctors of the Orthopedics Center of PERH, who are suspected of violating the requirements of public procurement and taking bribes. One of them is also suspected of fraud.
The suspicion of fraud concerns creating a misconception for the hospital and the Health Insurance Fund. A search took place on June 18, including on the hospital's premises. The suspects were also questioned on the same day. According to the prosecutor's office, the doctors were released after the procedural acts and there were no grounds for their longer detention or arrest.
The investigation concerns two public procurements in which it was suspected that an advantage was granted to a specific company and the requirements of the Public Procurement Act were violated. However, episodes of bribe-taking are not linked to breaches of public procurement requirements.
The proceedings are being carried out by the office for the investigation of corruption crimes at the Central Criminal Police and led by the North District Prosecutor's Office.
CEO of the North Estonia Medical Center Agris Peedu said that the hospital has cooperated fully with the police. "People in the healthcare system have been working to raise awareness of the threat of corruption among employees for many years, and of course we are disappointed in light of the information we have received," he said.
According to Peedu, both doctors are highly valued specialists and due to their professional specialization, replacing them will be complicated and time-consuming for the hospital. However, Peedu added that both doctors were deprived of the right to participate in the work of procurement committees and the right to engage in contracts and settlements.
"We can say that a hospital representative communicated with both doctors after they were released from the procedural acts, and both doctors went on leave immediately afterwards," Peedu said, adding that the hospital is in contact with the investigative bodies and will make further decisions based on further developments in the investigation.
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Editor: Helen Wright