The company, MR Communicaciones Politica S.A., provided 570,000 units of the Chinese standard KN95 masks, costing $1,299,000.
- A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo-

Published Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Company investigated for $1.2 million
deal of alleged defective face masks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Social Security announced an investigation began to hold those five workers and a woman surnamed Martínez- Ruíz, who is the general director of the company MR Comunicaciones Política S.A., responsible for providing disposable face masks that allegedly did not meet the agreed requirements.

In September, as a result of the first stage of the investigation on the $2,439,000 purchase of alleged defective disposable masks, Social Security determined that two companies delivered the product that does not comply with the quality control.

The first company, MR Communicaciones Politica S.A., which provided 570,000 units of the Chinese standard KN95 masks, costing $1,299,000.

The second company is Bioplus Care, which provided 300,000 units of KN95 masks, purchased for $1,140,000.

In August, Social Security suspended four employees for four months with pay, for the same investigation: Luis Fernando Porras-Melendez manager of the logistics department, and two other employees who worked as advisers in the same department, surnamed Vindas- Céspedes and Díaz- Rivera, in addition to a another employee which Social Security has not named.

The investigation seeks to determine the facts and the corresponding sanctions to the people linked in the case, if applicable, Social Security said in its statement.

In the first stage of the investigation, the Occupational Health technical experts concluded that the product delivered by that company "does not comply, nor is it the same as requested, neither technically nor administratively, so we are facing a breach of contract," Social Security said.

In August, the deputies of the Commission of Income and Public Expenses of the Congress approved a motion to open an investigation on the processes taken for the purchase and agreements carried out by Social Security, concerning the acquiring of masks and protective supplies for the institution's healthcare workers.

In July, Social Security made a recall for approximately 12 million disposable masks bought during the pandemic. The organization began a process of recovering disposable surgical masks that were handed over to the health workers.

According to the authorities, the masks were received at the Social Security warehouses on June 30 and immediately distributed to healthcare workers.

Even though Social Security is the public health institution, and the purchase was made under a National Emergency Decree due to the covid-19 pandemic, the files of the suspects were declared confidential until the investigation was completed.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers continue attending an increasing number of deaths caused by covid-19.

According to the updated report of the Ministry of Health on Monday, the virus continues to spread around the country:

722 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 30,439 active cases.

14,393 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 81,129 cases since March, approximately 17.7% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients.

• 570 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 212 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1-year-old baby to an 89-year-old person). And 358 patients are in recovery rooms. The majority of the rest of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 49,703 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 61.3% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 146,232 people have been ruled out.

• 243,270 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

987 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.2% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 374 were women and 613 men. The ages range from 18 to a 100-year-old person.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of  Monday night, the pandemic has killed 1,039,802 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Should the Prosecutor’s Office also open an investigation into the purchasing process for the disposable face masks?   We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to