Honduran Ex Official Convicted for Buying Useless Mobile COVID Hospitals

Published: 23 May 2022

Mobile-hospitals-construction-TurkeyHonduran ex-official convicted for purchasing useless mobile hospitals at a highly inflated price. (Photo: INVEST-H)

By Daniela Castro and Joan Suazo

The former head of a Honduran institution that was tasked with emergency procurement related to the COVID-19 pandemic was convicted last week for purchasing useless mobile hospitals at a highly inflated price.

Marco Bográn, who at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic headed Inversión Estratégica de Honduras (INVEST-H), purchased in March and April 2020 seven mobile hospitals for more than US$47 million for the Honduran government.

Experts later determined that these hospitals do not meet the minimum requirements for treating coronavirus patients. The equipment was not only overvalued, but also in poor condition, used, or expired.

Executive Director of INVEST-H and Administrative Manager, Alex Alberto Moraes, was also found guilty of continued aggravated violation of the duties of officials, which is not punishable by imprisonment.

Bográn and Moraes violated the Honduran public procurement law when they bought the hospitals directly and fraudulently from Axel Gamaliel López Guzmán, Legal Representative of HospitalMoviles.com and ELMED Medical Systems INC.

Honduras issued an international arrest warrant against López and in June 2021, the United States Department of Justice ordered the seizure of some $4 million from his company’s account in the U.S.

The Public Ministry announced it will appeal the ruling before the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) because the court was lenient in terms of the legal classification of the conduct attributed to the accused former officials, despite the fact that there was enough evidence that both committed two counts of fraud and two counts of violation of the duties of officials, reads a press release.

Bográn and Moraes were arrested in April 2021 and the trial started in January 2022.