Honduras Sentences Ex-Official to Over 10 Years for Buying Useless Mobile Hospitals

Published: 18 June 2022

Corruption Court HondurasThe former head of a Honduran institution that was tasked with emergency procurement related to COVID-19 pandemic was sentenced to nearly 11 years jail for purchasing useless mobile hospitals. (Photo: Poder Judicial Honduras/Twitter, License)

By Vinicius Madureira

The former head of a Honduran institution that was tasked with emergency procurement related to the COVID-19 pandemic was sentenced last week to nearly 11 years in prison 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 no longer usable.

According to a press release from the Honduran Court, the equipment had not met national standards and there were no representatives for the acquisition of spare parts and technical support. In short, the equipment “did not fulfill its purpose,” the judges agreed.

Executive Director of INVEST-H and Administrative Manager, Alex Alberto Moraes Girón, was sentenced to more than nine years of absolute disqualification from holding any public office for aggravated violation of the duties of officials, which is not punishable with jail.

Bográn and Moraes violated the Honduran public procurement law when they bought the hospitals directly and fraudulently from the Guatemalan 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. Despite the Interpol alert against López, he has allegedly been seen moving freely from one medical fair to another in the United States and promoting the hospitals he sold to Honduras as a success story.

Bográn and Moraes were arrested in April 2021. Their trial started earlier this year. Apart from the prison sentence, Bográn will also have to hand over about $60 million to state coffers.