'No dispute' over €14.1m bill, says Roqu

'No dispute' over €14.1m bill, says Roqu

It has emerged that the €14.1m paid by the HSE to Roqu was for the delivery of 328 ventilator devices.

An Irish company which procured ventilators from China for the Irish health service, which were never used due to quality issues, has said there is “no dispute” between itself and the HSE.

Roqu Group, previously known as Roqu Media International, was contracted to bring 1,000 ventilators into Ireland from the Far East at the beginning of the Covid pandemic last March.

“There is no dispute between Roqu Group and the HSE,” a spokesperson said, reiterating that Roqu had “at all times acted in good faith”.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the €14.1m paid by the HSE to Roqu was for the delivery of 328 ventilator devices.

However, just 72 of those machines appear to have been delivered to Ireland from China before the relationship between the two was ended.

The HSE has never previously revealed how many ventilators the deal with Roqu was for.

However, a manifest released under Freedom of Information now shows that the initial deal was for 328 devices at a cost of €35,000 apiece, to be delivered to Ballycoolin in North Dublin.

Applying Vat of 23%, the overall outlay paid for on or about March 23 was €14,120,400.

The HSE has likewise never confirmed exactly how many ventilators arrived in Ireland as part of the deal, while Roqu owner Robert Quirke himself has said that the number was 72. Mr Quirke also previously acknowledged that an initial payment of €14,120,000 had been received by his company from the HSE.

Following a refund by Roqu of €3.8m to the HSE the executive’s final bill for the devices was €10.3m.

The 72 ventilators, including Vat, priced at €35,000 each would come to an overall bill of €3.1m, leaving a difference of €7.2m between that and the HSE’s total outlay.

Roqu has stated that the deal also involved assorted other medical supplies, including ICU beds and PPE equipment. However, a total costed manifest for what was delivered has never been made available, while the initial deal had been solely for ventilators.

“As highlighted previously this arrangement was not only for the supply of ventilators but also for vast amounts of personal protective equipment as well as international logistics, freight and other services,” a spokesperson said yesterday. 

They stated that the figure of €14.12m for 328 ventilators is “believed to be inaccurate”.

They said those numbers “do not reflect the scale and complexity of the arrangement between Roqu Group and the HSE”.

The invoice provided to the HSE by Roqu on March 23 had its device quantities redacted when first seen by the Irish Examiner, while the cost of a “cargo jet Beijing to Dublin" was placed at €900,000.

None of the ventilators received by the HSE passed quality testing.

Responding to queries as to whether the €7.2m differential — between the money it paid up front to Roqu and the apparent value of the machines received — is the subject of dispute between itself and Roqu, the HSE declined to answer.

“As previously advised, the HSE is engaged in continuing discussions with Roqu with a view to resolving all issues and cannot provide any further information at this time,” a spokesperson said.

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