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Shady CT scanner contract already terminated, caterering deals still active

The Medical Group company, the company at the centre of an overpriced CT scanner worth almost €1.6 million that it was supposed to deliver to the Piešťany hospital has agreed to terminate the contract. Neither side will exercise the contractual sanctions, the Sme daily wrote in its December 12 edition. However, contracts that secured millions of euros to two companies for delivering food and catering services to four Slovak hospitals may yet spark a legal battle.

The Medical Group company, the company at the centre of an overpriced CT scanner worth almost €1.6 million that it was supposed to deliver to the Piešťany hospital has agreed to terminate the contract. Neither side will exercise the contractual sanctions, the Sme daily wrote in its December 12 edition. However, contracts that secured millions of euros to two companies for delivering food and catering services to four Slovak hospitals may yet spark a legal battle.

The Health Ministry deemed the contracts non-existent due to alleged violation of law. Sme and Transparency International Slovensko (TIS) reviewed contracts of four large state hospitals in Trenčín, Banská Bystrica, Trnava and Poprad and found that they will pay external caterers nearly €81 million including VAT over the course of 10 years. Trenčín hospital signed a contract with the Hospital Catering Solutions company and the other three hospitals signed with the Dora Gastro company.

Experienced lawyers warn that scrapping contracts can be difficult, though. The outgoing heads of hospitals will be temporarily replaced by deputising managers; but the ruling Smer party will not change its way of selecting them for the post – it has not condemned political nominations, but rather defended them. Health Minister Viliam Čislák even sacked the head of the ministerial office, Martin Senčák, who – before taking his ministerial post – was economic manager of the Sodexho company that supplied services for the Hospital Catering Solutions, according to Sme.

The state-run hospitals in Trnava, Banská Bystrica and Poprad, which ordered the overpriced catering services from external companies will now have to decide what to do with the agreements worth a total of €81 million. The contracts are still valid and the facilities have not said whether they will terminate them, the Pravda daily wrote.

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