President Juan Manuel Santos announced that six state employees have been arrested in connection to the latest corruption scandal in the health insurance sector.
A network of staff from the Ministry of Social Protection and government agency Foysga have been accused of fraudulent activities such as “dead people receiving benefits, monumental budget overruns and people successfully petitioning for a health service to be funded, but never receiving the money because it was kept by middleman,” said Santos on the Casa de Nariño website.
So far six people have been arrested out of 25 arrest warrants issued, including one person who was caught burning key evidence, announced Santos and Prosecutor General Viviane Morales at a press conference on Monday.
Among those arrested were Claudia Rojas, Finance Director of the Ministry of Social Protection and Luis Martinez, representative of a health insurance company. They will be investigated for the crimes of conspiracy, official misconduct, embezzlement, bribery and illicit enrichment of individuals.
“A mafia is stealing the health resources of our citizens,” said Santos at a press conference on Monday. The health sector receives funding which amounts to almost 6% of GDP, and the details of the multi-million dollar fraud scandal so far discovered is only the tip of the iceberg, he added.
Last week it was reported that one out of five health services approved for reimbursement by health insurance companies reimbursed also came under the Compulsory Health Plan (POS), leading to numerous cases of double billing.
A further 55% of 183 medications ordered by patients who petitioned to receive the treatment for free, were also, in fact, already covered by the POS.
El Espectador reported that nearly $17 million (COP 33 billion) in state money has been lost through the irregular dealings.