Army audit concludes masks were bought at market price

The audit found no major shortcomings in the quality of the masks Keystone / Francesca Agosta

There are “strong indications” that the Swiss army did not overpay for hygiene and respiratory masks last year, according to an internal investigation by the defence ministry.

This content was published on April 22, 2021 - 14:22

Defence Minister Viola Amherd tasked the internal audit department in January with reviewing the army pharmacy’s purchases of masks during the Covid-19 pandemic, including some 700,000 that were described in media reports as being of poor quality.

In their report published on Thursday the auditors said that given the high demand, limited supply and urgency to procure enough masks, it was inevitable that prices for medical supplies would rise.

They said that while only a court could “conclusively rebut the allegations of usury and overcharging”, overall the audit showed that the procurement of the masks was carried out in accordance with the “principles of thrift”.

The audit also found no major shortcomings in the quality of the masks, saying that the quality of the masks had been a major challenge worldwide and that “significant efforts” had been made to procure good-quality masks in an exceptional situation.

“We found that for mask deliveries that took place in the period March to May 2020, only isolated notices of defects regarding quality have been issued to suppliers to date,” the auditors reported.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

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