He revealed that Satish Faugoo, minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security was against the transaction.
“A team of five doctors headed by Dr Gopee was appointed to study the feasibility of project. After their findings they submitted their report to Faugoo who was acting as minister of Health in the absence of Maya Hanoomanjee,” said Bérenger.
He added, “The doctors were against centralised services. Instead, they requested geriatric services to be provided in all hospitals throughout the island. The acting minister of Health and Quality of Life, Faugoo, went along with the report. In clear terms, the project was rejected.”
Bérenger was addressing a large audience. Other members of the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM), Reza Uteem, Kavi Ramano, Vijay Makhan and Veda Baloomoody, were among those who also intervened at the meeting.
He added that the Ministry of Health was hiding reports and requested government officials to make them public and refrain from being hand in glove with ministers as they risked imprisonment.
Bérenger described the deal as crooked and added that the assets were estimated at Rs 75 million by a government evaluator while a private evaluator, Hooloo -man and Associates, increased it to Rs 125 million. The medical equipment were not included in the tender document but was sold for Rs 19,701,300, it was insured for Rs 2 million.
He criticised the government for launching the tender exercise of the geriatric hospital only five days before the elections and condemned the Central Procurement Board (CPB) for failing to inform other bidders. “The law states that other bidders should be informed in case their offer is rejected to allow them to make representations to the Independent Review Panel within seven days. The CPB failed in its duty,” he said.
Berenger condemned the speed at which the transaction was processed to avoid capital tax gains. “It normally takes months for such transactions. The swift deal allowed sellers to save Rs 22 miillion,” he said.
Bérenger added that one of the best bids was estimated at Rs 117 million but the CPB discarded it on the grounds that it required repairs, “However, according to the government report released in January, MedPoint Clinic needs water proofing, special lift among others.”
He requested Prime Minister Dr Navin Ramgoolam to set up a select committee to prove that he is not held hostage by the MSM and branded the ICAC as white washing machine.”