The biggest controversy since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic is moving to court.
On Tuesday, she will begin in the courtroom the lawsuit of Recea Prague, which, starting in the spring of 2020, in an era of frantic spending of billions, imported insufficient masks and respirators.
He claims that the Ministry of Health has ordered hundreds of thousands of ventilators. But when the company handed them over to the Czech Republic, the ministry did not pay for it. The protective material is still in state repositories today.
Meanwhile, Recea Prague fell into bankruptcy because it initially had to borrow money to buy ventilators in China.
In this case, a total of 230 million is at stake between the company and the state, and Seznam Zprávy obtained documents on how the company wants to prove in court that the state has irreversibly damaged it. And also the documents, where the Ministry of Health wants to appeal the lawsuit.
What Seznam Správy has already written about the case
Recea Prague has delivered a total of nine respirators to the Ministry of Health. The problem arose with four, comprising 757,000 pieces of protective gear. The ministry refused to pay a total of 182 million to them, although, according to his claim, Reese’s boss, Jan Konk, spent hours at the office’s front desk asking for money or an interview with an official in charge.
According to court documents, the company today increased the reported losses of 182 million by another 46 million. According to her, the legal interest has increased.
Salad: was poor quality goods
On the other hand, the ministry wants to present to the court reports from the independent laboratory, where it had samples of respirators from individual deliveries tested in the spring of 2020.
For example, on April 20, the bureau obtained a sample delivery of 400,000 items that were inspected. Respirators must meet the FFP3 standard, i.e. the highest quality. In the lab, experts measured the alleged penetration, that is – simply put – the amount of aerosol passing through the wall of the ventilator and around the faces.
According to the ministry, the test showed that the quality was not enough. The same was repeated for the next three vehicles.
“It is clear that the goods delivered did not meet the quality standards for the given personal protective equipment,” Jan Pacina, head of the Health Ministry’s legal department and a member of the procurement team that arranged multibillion-dollar orders in March 2020 wrote. , in a court statement. In the spring of this year, Jan Pachina left his post.
A mysterious (non-)bank from the Caribbean
When Recea Prague raised money to make purchases in China and pay for air transportation, it borrowed from several entrepreneurs. The international investment bank IC guaranteed these loans to Recea Prague (for example, in the event of the company’s bankruptcy, the investment bank IC will return their money to the creditors).
The list described reports last year that investment bank IC was never a properly registered bank in the Czech Republic. Thus, whether the bank guarantees issued by you are valid or not. When the police became interested in her role, the managers of the investment bank IC canceled the Prague branch.
Resya Prague objects to the tests. She notes that the ministry sent her only part of the respiratory test protocols, and that was about a year after the tests were carried out.
“The company has therefore not received the information to which it is legally entitled. The department justified this by saying that it had no reason or obligation to provide such information,” says Martin Burrian, a lawyer for a company now represented by an insolvency official.
In addition, the company objects that the documents do not indicate whether the ventilators from deliveries or some others have already been tested. According to her, for example, there are no photos to prove this. And thirdly, he argues that the respirators carry the so-called European CE certification, that is, confirmation that they are products that comply with the European standard.
“Recea Prague provided CE certificates from recognized European certification bodies to the ministry before the goods were delivered,” adds attorney Burian. According to the company, it was not necessary to try the delivered respirators again – their quality had to be checked by the certificate itself.
The fact is that even Health Minister Adam Wojciech (ANO) last year in an interview with Novinki He said his administration has waived approved respirator testing. “In this case, it wasn’t necessary to take the test,” Voich said in an interview.
They wanted to act. no reaction
Over the years, the company has attempted to present out-of-court dispute settlement negotiations to all Ministers of Health, most recently to the current Chief of Staff, Vlastimil Falk (TOP 09). But according to her, the answer did not come.
The ministry, through its spokesman Ondig Jacob, said it would not make any statement on the dispute. He did not even respond to Seznam Práv’s question how Minister Válek had reacted to the aforementioned negotiating offer.
As can be read from the court documents obtained, Recea Praha’s last argument in the dispute with the Ministry is this: if she had doubts about the quality of the goods, she should have continued as usual – formally complaining about the ventilators. But this did not happen, the protective equipment ended up in state warehouses.
In addition – although the state did not pay Recea Prague, the company’s tax office assessed more than thirty million VAT. During the inspection, based on the accounting documents, he reported that she had officially sold the goods to the Ministry and that they no longer belonged to her.
“As they say: for the good of the beggar,” the CEO of the company Lenka Knížková commented already last year.
On the other hand, the company had problems at the beginning of the work: its second director, Jan Konk, as found by journalists, had several cases of foreclosures against him as a natural person – mostly due to minor irregularities or simple rent debts in a municipal apartment in Prague.
criticism from SAO
The purchase of protective equipment last year was criticized in a comprehensive report by i Office of Financial Supervision. Investigating certain stores, for example, he discovered that the choice of companies from which the state purchased masks and respirators in the frenetic period at the beginning of the pandemic was ambiguous. The way it worked was that companies contacted the ministry with offers, usually by phone or email, and the office often sent them an order within a few hours. He even gave money in advance to some.
The Inspection Office summarized its findings: “The transparency of the procurement process as a whole has therefore been negatively affected from the start.” He added that there was confusion even in testing the quality of the goods. Occasionally, goods other than those that should have been properly tested pass a quality check in the laboratory.
Former Health Minister Foych responded that the office is in a difficult situation. He explained that the epidemic was spreading throughout the country and that Czech medical workers needed protection quickly.
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