There are currently a variety of questions being asked regarding the Public-Private Partnership agreement between the Fiji Government and Aspen Medical. In November 2018, the Fiji Government announced that Aspen Medical was awarded a 23-year contract to manage the Lautoka and Ba Hospitals. This agreement was signed in January 2019, and as of January 2021, Aspen Medical has yet to take over control of these hospitals (Aspen Medical is currently operating under a deadline of June 2021 to take control).
The Ba Hospital, a $30 million dollar hospital announced in 2014 with construction beginning in 2016, is currently not operational as of January 2021. National Federation Party Leader Biman Prassad discussed the project in late 2020, specifically calling out Aspen Medical for their role in this money-draining endeavor: “We want to know details of this project and secondly, an inquiry into the partnership between Aspen Medical and the Fiji Government’s public-private partnership project to run the Ba and Lautoka hospitals.” Aspen Medical was awarded the bid over two years ago, and with the Ba hospital still not operational, a formal investigation needs to occur regarding the competency of Aspen Medical as they waste Fiji citizens taxpayer dollars. Furthermore, the nature of Aspen Medical’s political dealing in Fiji to secure this contract with little to no experience in hospital construction and management should be investigated.
Additionally, Aspen Medical faces numerous allegations regarding corrupt relationships with government officials that gives them an advantage to winning large contracts. The medical industry has been one of the hardest hit with United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Violations (see GlaxoSmithKline, Stryker, Cardinal Health, and ZimmerBiomet). The FCPA prohibits all US-based companies, as well as companies that have a US subsidiary or conduct business in the US, from paying bribes to foreign officials to further business deals. The Fiji PPP agreement, and lack of accountability of Aspen Medical over the past few years since the deal was signed, is a prime example of how many of these FCPA cases originate.
There are important questions that should be asked and ongoing investigation will reveal answers.
Whistleblowers of Aspen Medical are starting to surface and disclose the impropriety, or outright bribery or fraud, that is ripping off the people of Fiji. The Fiji Opposition party is not alone in investigating this matter, and if improper payments are identified, it is only a matter of time before the US government will be investigating Aspen Medical and Founder and Chairman Glenn Keys. Time will tell whether this is a matter of gross incompetence or impropriety on behalf of Aspen Medical and Glenn Keys. This would not be the first time Glenn Keys has exploited and leveraged political relationships to lend favoritism to his company Aspen Medical in gaining contracts. Keys leverages his government relationships in Australia to obtain large contracts, and by the looks of the photo below, he is utilizing that same strategy in Fiji:
If you have any information to assist with this case, you can reach out anonymously to our whistleblower hotline +60-11-1480-0383 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to update this story as more information develops.
For additional information, see the links below.
Parliament Discussion on Ba Hospital and Aspen Medical: Final-Thursday-20th-June-2019-DH.pdf (parliament.gov.fj)
Fiji Times Article: https://www.fijitimes.com/biman-calls-for-probe-on-hospital-status/
Independent Australia article on Aspen Medical government relationships: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-abbott-government-aspen-medical-connection,7098 (we will provide a follow-up post addressing questions outlined in this article)
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