MEXICO CITY, Nov 23, 2020, El Universal. The Public Administration Ministry, led by Irma Erendira Sandoval, published a document in the Official Gazette, which indicates the Mexican government has sanctioned Cyber Robotics Solutions after the company sold 20 overpriced ventilators to the IMSS Hidalgo amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is owned by León Bartlett, the son of CFE director Manuel Bartlett, El Universal reported.
Cyber Robotics Solutions will face two penalties. It was banned from working for the government for 24 and 27 months and fined with over MXN 2 million.
The Public Administration Ministry explained that the company was directly awarded a contract for the purchase of medical equipment under the argument that it was urgeny to purchase ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients in Hidalgo.
The government department added that the timely actions prevented Cyber Robotics Solutions from causing damages in the public purse and revealed that the contract was based on lies: “The price offered by the company was outside the market range. This was proven through the purchase of two similar pieces of equipment for a much lower price at the same time, as well as the price of medical equipment recently purchased by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and other federal government departments.”
Moreover, the ministry said the alleged urgency to acquire to ventilators at IMSS Hidalgo was false. The equipment was never used in the state and that the “express delivery” argument was baseless.
The document explains “the company provided false information regarding the alleged immediate availability of the equipment. The equipment was delivered later, openly failing with the arguments used to grant the contract and once again contradicting the alleged urgency.”
Furthermore, Mexican authorities found that “not even one of the 20 pieces of equipment fulfilled the technical specifications. (The company) delivered equipment in old, used, and poor conditions: 11 of them were broken and were completely useless, as the IMSS itself acknowledged.”
After the IMSS verified the equipment on May 7, it was forced to return the purchase, preventing financial losses.
The official document also slammed previous federal administrations: “During the old regime, the most wasteful, immoral, and evident embezzlement cases were not punished, for example, the iconic FOBAPROA, which undermined the country’s wealth for generations and it is a debt we are still paying. Today, in strict compliance with the law and guaranteeing due process for all those involved, the government acts and sanctions all the offenses, even when they did not have an impact on the public purse.”
On May 5, EL UNIVERSAL reported that León Bartlett’s company was awarded at least 7 government contracts for MXN 162 million.
On April 30, Cyber Robotics signed a contract with the ISSSTE for MXN 94.4 million, without a tender, to provide ultrasound equipment. Moreover, there are another two contracts awarded without a tender for MXN 275,000 and MXN 65,000.
Additionally, León Bartlett was awarded a Sedena contract, without a tender, for MXN 23.4 million and which entered into force on January 1.
Cyber Robotics obtained another direct contract with the Mexican navy for MXN 4.9 million.
Furthermore, Bartlett’s company signed another two contracts with the IMSS for MXN 8.2 million and MXN 31 million. The MXN 31 million contract was signed on April 20, when the IMSS purchased ventilators for seriously ill patients infected with COVID-19.
On May 13, Mexico’s Social Security Institute (IMSS) refused 20 ventilators it had purchased from Cyber Robotics Solutions, a company owned by León Bartlett.
Through a statement, the IMSS said that after experts analyzed the ventilators, they “determined that they do not fulfill the requirements and technical-functional characteristics agreed in the contract.”