Billions in Profit: Fidesz Avoids Discussion of Chinese Ventilator Scandal in Hungary

  • 8 Sep 2023 7:33 AM
  • Hungary Around the Clock
Billions in Profit: Fidesz Avoids Discussion of Chinese Ventilator Scandal in Hungary
Thursday’s meeting of Parliament’s welfare committee had no quorum as neither Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, who was meant to be heard concerning the scandal involving Chinese respirators, nor governing party MPs were present, committee chairman Zoltán Varga told an online press conference.

Varga, a Democratic Coalition MP, said Pintér, who also oversees healthcare, would have been asked whether anybody will be held responsible after three years for the Chinese respirators that were bought for Ft 300 billion, only to be unusable and gathering dust today in warehouses.

The Democratic Coalition said the Orbán cabinet had cost Hungarian taxpayers twice over with the Chinese ventilators, procuring them overpriced and then wasting more money on the storage payments when the respirators were not used even once.

After Transparency International fought a two-year litigation battle, it emerged in late August that the government has not sold any of the 17,000 respirators.

Direkt36 reported that the company that sold the respirators did not undertake to maintain them and that is why hospitals struggled to use the machines, which were found to often lack components.

HUF 300 Billion worth of ventilators go unsold

After several years of litigation, the government admitted that not a single ventilator was sold from a stockpile of about Ft 300 billion compiled during the coronavirus epidemic, Transparency International Hungary (TI) said in a statement.

During the Covid epidemic, Hungary acquired 16,000-17,000 ventilators , mostly from China, for a total of approximately Ft 300 billion, while even the worst-case scenario at the time did not envisage more than 8,500 patients to be ventilated at the same time.

The transactions went through intermediary companies, some newly created, whose owners made several billions in profit, before shutting the companies down within a short time.

MTI photo: Márton Mónus

Related links

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