By Courtney Trenwith
Health ministry suspends 38 contracts related to the coronavirus that has killed at least 347 people for suspected corruption
The Saudi ministry of health has reportedly suspended 38 contracts worth a total SAR1 billion ($266 million) for alleged corruption.
The contracts were all related to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is believed to have started in Saudi Arabia.
The disease, which was first detected in September, 2012, has spread to several other countries. It has a fatality rate of almost 50 percent and has killed at least 347 people, according to the World Health Organization.
The ministry said some of the companies contracted had not performed the work they were signed to do, a source told Arab News. About SAR663 million of the SAR1 billion already had been spent.
The contracts included one worth SAR1.7 million to manage the ministry’s Twitter account and another worth SAR10.3 million to implement a seven-week media campaign.
A SR8.9m contract to train medical staff was suspended because the training company had weak outcomes.
A separate company paid SAR14.7 million to supervise and oversee all health practitioner training provided by other firms, as well as infection control, also had its contract scrapped.
Others related to air transport, laboratory testing, residential leases and establishing a strategy on how to deal with MERS in the future.
The ministry was investigating each of the alleged breaches of contract, Arab News said.