Ajax Salvador Delgado Quintanilla is one of the most privileged providers of the Ministry of Health (Minsa). From 2018 to date, it received C$132.5 million córdobas (equivalent to US$3.5 million) as the “sole supplier” of fuel to that institution. The Sandinista businessman appears in 204 contracts —some paid for with international funds— that were awarded to him, which reveals an obvious case of “influence peddling”, since this is from the circle of Bayardo Arce Castaño, adviser on economic issues for the dictator Daniel Ortega.
Delgado Quintanilla, who was also a substitute deputy for Arce Castaño, is the administrator of a Puma Energy gas station in Managua, located in the Rubenia sector, and wins the Minsa public tenders on a recurring basis. There are even months in which he received up to five contracts in his favor.
Through “directed hiring”, the Sandinista businessman provides fuel to the “Manuel de Jesús Rivera, La Mascota” Children’s Hospital, the “Manolo Morales Peralta” Hospital, the “Antonio Lenin Fonseca” School Hospital, in Managua. In areas further away from the capital, it supplies the “Humberto Alvarado Vásquez” Hospital in Masaya; and Hospital “César Amador Molina”, in Matagalpa.
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In addition, it is the only provider of the local Comprehensive Health Care System (SILAIS-Managua) and of the “Óscar Danilo Rosales Argüello” School Hospital (Heodra), in León, as verified by the Nicaragua Investiga outlet through a series of documents. audiences to which they had access.
His ties to Sandinismo place him at the center of those non-transparent activities of the Minsa, because “he does not compete on equal terms” with other providers in the Central American country.
“That makes it a recurring supplier, that is, a supplier that is eventually being awarded contracts (…) There is a situation of influence peddling for him to win these types of contracts, because the product he sells is sold by others, We are clear that he is not the only provider of this type of goods or services,” an expert on State contracting issues told Nicaragua Investiga who, for fear of reprisals, prefers to omit her name.
“Unique” and privileged supplier
Delgado Quintanilla won 204 direct contracts with the Ministry of Health from 2018 to date, in which at least three high-value contracts stand out.
The largest was for a total of C$42.4 million (US$1.2 million) in 2021, financed with resources from Treasury Revenues, to supply diesel fuel and gasoline to Silais Managua. On July 14, 2021, according to public documents, the “only offer” was received in his name and he was awarded the process for a period of 15 months with the facility of being extended for two similar periods.
The services were detailed as follows: 1,034,022.81 liters of diesel for an amount of C$33,305,874.71 and 235,064 liters of regular gasoline for a total of C$9,113,431.28, details the resolution of the Minsa acquisition unit.
The inquiry emails sent to the Sandinista businessman to ask him about this issue were not answered.
In 2018, the year of the beginning of the sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua, Silais Managua carried out five tenders to supply fuel to its transport units. The Ministry of Health at the departmental level has 67 ambulancesaccording to official data.
That year, Delgado Quintanilla won eight contracts for an amount of C$21 million (about US$667,663.4), most of it coming from international organizations such as the Global Fund, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Inter-American Development Bank ( IDB).
98% of that amount was obtained through a single contract for C$20.6 million (US$656,100.3) financed with funds from Nicaraguan Treasury Revenues. The specification of bases and conditions of that contract stipulates monthly payments, according to consumption, and was extendable for “two similar periods” or “to be renewed immediately 15 days before its expiration.”
Initially, the Minsa required 293,394 liters of diesel and 349,440 liters of regular gasoline in a 12-month period to supply the Silais Managua vehicles that would be used for anti-epidemic activities and the ambulance station.
At the time of signing the contract, Minsa increased the request for diesel fuel by 28,750 liters. For the execution of the purchase, the Silais Managua vehicles had to be presented at the service station of the Sandinista businessman.
A third contract that stands out in this analyzed period is the one signed on June 8, 2022 by the then Minister of Health, Martha Verónica Reyes, for an amount of C$2.6 million, equivalent to US$72,000, according to an official document.
The Minsa, as the executing unit of this process, with resources from the World Bank, through a simplified tender, awarded the million-dollar contract to Delgado Quintanilla to provide the fuel needed for the Silais-Managua anti-epidemic program.
“The State spends a lot on fuel and one of the abuses of public resources that is taking place has a lot to do with the purchase of fuel, because it has been possible to detect that some way of diverting public resources has been by granting fuel coupons to people that they belong to the institutions, for example, to make caravans (supporters, of the FSLN)”, explained the expert on issues of State contracting.
By United Voices