WORLD Ecuadorian police raid Health Ministry in COVID-19 vaccine corruption probe

WORLD

Ecuadorian police raid Health Ministry in COVID-19 vaccine corruption probe

Xinhua

08:54, March 18, 2021

QUITO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Authorities raided Ecuador's Health Ministry as part of a corruption investigation into the country's vaccination process against COVID-19, the Attorney General's Office said on Wednesday.

A nurse prepares a Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 at the Pablo Arturo Suarez Hospital in Quito on January 21, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

Police and prosecutors searched the offices and seized computers and other potential evidence for alleged wrongdoings by former Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos and others, the agency said via Twitter.

The operation collected "information on the vaccination plan that began on Jan. 21, as well as the list of beneficiaries of phases 0 and 1," said the agency, because an "incomplete" list was sent to authorities three times "without the names of the people who have been vaccinated and are public knowledge."

According to the agency, "there is a detailed record of vaccinated people, which suggests that there is information that has been hidden."

The investigation "will not interfere in any way" with the ongoing vaccination registration processes of the Health Ministry, the agency added.

The agency opened an investigation into the case on Jan. 29, after revelations that Zevallos was using his post to vaccinate friends and family members.

Zevallos resigned on Feb. 26 over alleged irregularities in a coronavirus vaccination program.

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