The Comptroller General of the Republic sent the Public Ministry and the State Defense Council the documents of the audit that it carried out on the Association of Municipalities with Popular Pharmacies (Achifarp) after detecting irregularities within it.
The entity has on its board the mayor of Recoleta, Daniel Jadue (president), in addition to the mayors of Puente Alto, German Codina (Vice President) and Valparaíso, George Sharp (treasurer).
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The report of the controlling entity has 161 pages, which according to Radio Biobioagreements declared illegal for more than 613 million pesos with the municipalities of Recoleta, Paillaco and the National Disability Service (Senadis), unfinished contracts with the University of Concepción for the manufacture of the disputed drug Interferon and lack of support and financial information.
Given this background, the Comptroller’s Office initiated administrative proceedings in the indicated institutions.
The investigation covered the period between January 1, 2019 and June 20, 2021, with the objective of determining if the money used by Achifarp meets its purposes, along with knowing if the operations carried out by the entity were to “protect available public resources”.
Before this line, a lack of support and financial information was found, along with a lack of administrative information. In the first point, it was discovered that the Association “did not make available the information related to the procedures established for the acquisition of medicines, channeling and analysis of the requirements of the associated municipalities.”
In addition, the entity did not deliver the resolutions that it issued by virtue of its bylaws, nor did it do so with “the minutes of the board of directors, general assemblies and executive committee carried out since its constitution to the date of review, nor formal guidelines that regulate the processes receipt of incorporation and annual fees”.
“The bank reconciliations, their supporting records, the accounting majors, the auxiliary of the bank book for the current account that it manages, nor the purchase and sale book for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, the accounting procedure for the payment of social contributions, nor their valued inventories”, were other documents that were not delivered to the Comptroller.
The controlling entity made repeated requests for Achifarp to deliver “the financial statements for the years 2019 and 2020, as well as the Annual Accountability Reports” provided for in its statutes, both of which were not provided.
“It was not possible to verify if the resources managed by Achifarp- are used in the fulfillment of its purposes; establish the regularity of its operations; nor verify if said entity maintains control procedures to ensure the due protection of available resources” , in the absence of key information, it was decided to send the report to the Public Ministry and the CDE.
Admission to the Achifarp
The investigation also found the lack of a membership registry by the Chilean Association of Popular Pharmacies. For the identification of the associated municipalities, there is only “an Excel file which does not contain the date of incorporation of each building entity to that Association”.
The Comptroller asked the 345 municipalities associated with Achifarp, identifying five municipalities that were unaware of their incorporation, despite receiving the respective payments, which between 2019 and 2021 reached almost 70 million pesos. Another 19 community headquarters reported that they did not belong to the Association.
It was also identified “lack of certainty of the fees contributed by the partners, because of the responses received, 6 of the officiated municipalities, in their capacity as partners, documented payments for social fees in the amount of $78,164,701, which did not were contained in the aforementioned income reported by Achifarp”.
Within the investigation that had access Radio Biobio there is the acquisition of 180 thousand doses of Interferon, by the Municipality of Recoleta and Macul, for $10 million. Medicine that would be used to combat covid-19, but that the Ministry of Health (Minsal) and the Institute of Public Health (ISP) did not approve its use.
The Comptroller’s Office discovered that Achifarp transferred 25 million pesos to the University of Concepción between July 25, 2020 and May 4, 2021, but a debt of $215 million remained, when the entity’s current account has only 29 millions of pesos.
In addition, it was found that there are almost 1,300 doses of Interferon stored in the Municipality of Recoleta.
The agreements between Achifarp and the municipalities of Recoleta, Paillaco and the National Disability Service (Senadis), for 613.6 million pesos, were declared illegal for not complying with the law that regulates the acquisition of goods and services.
“This Comptroller General will initiate a summary process in the municipality of Recoleta and Paillaco in order to determine the eventual administrative responsibilities in the events described,” the document indicates.
Avivafir is another drug that is under investigation, since Achifarp paid $240.4 million and $150 million after agreements with the municipalities of Recoleta and Macul, respectively.
The problem is that there is a balance pending execution for more than $15 million whose destination is unknown. These records were also sent to the CDE and the Public Ministry.
The executive secretary of the Chilean Association of Popular Pharmacies, Matias Munoz, replied to Radio Biobio that “we have always seen favorably the work of the Comptroller because it allows us to improve administrative processes of our Association”.
“We are already working on correcting each one of the issued observations and we will, without a doubt, comply with the deadline established for follow-up,” he added.
Regarding the financial accusations and the non-delivery of the requested documentation, Muñoz stated that “when the audit of the Comptroller’s Office begins, we were in the process of integration, accounting reports, ERP contracting that facilitates the accounting and documentary administrative processes.”
“We delivered everything we had in our hands, in fact we made ourselves available to the Comptroller to address accounting issues and internal processes,” he added.
Referring to the Interferon side, he maintained that “it is an agreement that Achifarp entered into with the University of Concepción, which is still under development.”
“Regarding the storage of Interferon, we complied with the first established step, the doses were not taken care of, they were only stored, until the ISP made its objections and the doses were transferred again to the University laboratory. But that was corrected immediately”, hill.
Departure from Puente Alto de la Achifarp
The municipality of Puente Alto reported that the mayor and vice president of Achifarp, German Codina, stated that the administration of the entity was worrying.
Under this line, they point out that Codina requested a “hiring of an external audit”, which was approved in December 2021 by Achifarp itself.
Finally, they state that “in light of the background, in the next Municipal Council, Mayor Codina is going to request approval for Puente Alto to withdraw from Achifarp.”