CAIRO: Corruption will not be tolerated, Minister of Health Hatem El Gabaly told the Shura Council Saturday following fallout and public concern over the infected blood bags scandal.
In an address to the health committee of the Shura Council, El Gabaly said the ongoing investigation would answer questions including how the contested company Hidelina won the tender.
He stressed that the ministry of health had addressed the issue long before it was brought up in the media.
Last week, MPs demanded an official probe. The scandal had erupted when Sohier El Sharkawi, employee at the ministry of health, found 200,000 contaminated bags used to package donated blood in the ministry s storage. The bags, she alleged, were infected with bacteria and fungi likely to cause cancer and hepatitis.
El Gabaly said the committee responsible for the tender overlooked a condition that requires the applicant companies to provide proof they worked with state-run blood banks before.
He also noted that the blood bags in question were presented with certification from the pharmaceutical research and monitoring association, something that also requires investigation.
For the time being, the blood bags used in public hospitals are perfectly safe, emphasized El Gabaly. He explained that 45,000 Hidelina bags were distributed last July and the ministry hasn t been notified of any health problems associated with them.
But the controversy did not center around the way the ministry handled the investigation; it was triggered by the fact that the owner of Hidelina is fellow MP Hani Sorour.
A number of MPs noted that it is unconstitutional for a member of parliament to engage in any financial dealings with the government.
MP Nagi Shehabi, also president of El Geil political party, said compounded corruption in the health sector has had one victim: the Egyptian citizen.
Like many businessmen Shehabi added, Hani Sorour thought that political immunity would protect him from being held accountable.
On the other hand, El Gabali said the ministry will not be a battlefield for personal and political conflicts. The ministry will not make accusations, he added, but will support all investigations to reach the truth.
Meanwhile, Saleh El Shimi, head of the health committee of the Shura Council, commented that the issue was blown out of proportion because of excessive media coverage and exaggeration.