Garda Headquarters has corrected a description of what it had claimed was a suspected attempt to defraud the HSE of €7.5 million as it was buying ventilators in the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reports compiled by the Garda for the Policing Authority stated the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau had started a criminal investigation after the HSE reported its suspicions around a planned €7.5 million transaction. The ventilators were being purchased from Asia via Dublin-based company Narooma Limited.
The claims in the reports, which were published by The Irish Times, stated the monies had been paid by the HSE but the payment was blocked after a court injunction was sought.
However, the information in the Garda report to the authority was incorrect. No monies had been paid and no injunction had been sought by the HSE or the Garda. Indeed, Narooma Limited had gone to the High Court seeking an injunction against the HSE over the non-payment of the monies.
The Garda has corrected the information in its reports to the Policing Authority and it has also published a notice in Thursday’s Irish Times accepting the information was wrong and correcting the record.
Narooma Ltd said its directors were pleased that the publication of the notice by the Garda “will go some way towards correcting the public record” and repairing its reputation. It added “questions have to be asked” about how such misinformation entered the public domain.
“Narooma Limited’s substantive case against the HSE is proceeding to arbitration under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce,” it said.