The police in St Petersburg have arrested a top official of the country’s public health ministry. Natalia Tochilova headed a high-tech medical equipment department. The police say she is linked to so-called CAT scanners case.
Tochilova allegedly acted in the interest of a private company, supplying two overpriced CAT scanners to Turner Children Orthopaedics Institute - St Petersburg-based state research center and hospital. Tochilova’s arrest deepened the health ministry corruption scandal. The question arises: could Tochilina devise a scheme to supply the state hospital with overpriced medical equipment without minister Tatiana Golikova’s consent?
According to the reports, the ministry has recently stroke over 170 CAT scanners supply deals, under which the state paid $7.5 billion for the equipment. The official’s kickback is estimated to reach $55 million for a single contract. The police opened over 2,500 administrative cases and 15 criminal cases, involving fraudulent CAT scanners supply contracts.
Corruption affects the work of the ministry from top to bottom, according to sources. The Prosecutor General has publicly accused the ministry of collusion with the suppliers of medicine.
The head of scandal-hit ministry is rumored to retire in nearest future. Viktor Khristenko, Golikova’s alleged political godfather and husband, is said to leave his post in the cabinet of ministers to join the Commission of Euroasian Union, a counterpart of the EU Commission. His new post will make him less influential figure, Khristenko says.