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Putin urges Zurabov to honor law, control spending

Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the problems existing in the mandatory medical insurance fund and demands the Health Ministry should strictly control the way budget money is spent.

"I am asking you to take the most attentive attitude to everything related to compliance with the law and control of budget money spending," Putin said at a meeting with government ministers on Monday. "We are perfectly aware of the problems that exist in the mandatory medical insurance fund. I have been told that the ministry provides every possible assistance to the investigators."

Putin instructed Zurabov to keep acting in the same fashion and to control budget money spending in all other spheres of the ministry’s activity.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office on November 17 declared it had launched criminal proceedings against a number of senior officials of the mandatory medical insurance fund "over gross bribe-taking and other offences."

So far six medical insurance fund officials have been arrested with a court’s permission – the fund’s director, two deputy directors and the chiefs of three departments. The detention of one more department chief, remanded in custody earlier, was prolonged.

Moscow City Court press-secretary Anna Usacheva said the officials detained for two months were Auditing Department chief Tatyana Markova, financial department chief Nina Frolova, medical insurance fund deputy directors Natalya Klimova and Dmitry Shilyayev and chief of the accounting department, chief accountant Galina Bykova. The arrest warrant was issued by Moscow’s Basmanny court.

The criminal investigation has exposed cases of bribe-taking by the medical insurance fund’s officials from the chiefs of territorial mandatory medical insurance funds, representatives of pharmaceutical and other commercial enterprises, involved in the supplies of medical formulas and equipment.

"During the searches at a number of federal medical insurance funds in Moscow and at territorial funds a large amount of financial and other documents, hundreds of rubber stamps of various commercial organizations and large sums of cash were arrested and confiscated," the Prosecutor-General’s Office said.

The investigation and detective work is continuing.


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