By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 18 October 2013:
A Swedish medical company has handed over material to the Swedish police relating to the payment of $260,000 which it is being suggested was given to a Tunisian company as commission in the treatment of Libyan war wounded in Sweden last year.
Lund-based Skane Care discovered the financial irregularities during an internal audit but did not know why the payment had been made to the company, named by Malmo newspaper Sydsvenskan, as North African Services.
According to the paper, a Tunisian doctor whom it named as Fethi Salaani contacted Skane Care and another company, Transmedica, in May 2011 to see if they were interested in treating Libyans wounded in the revolution. In an article yesterday, it said both companies had separately set up links with Salaani and his North African Services company but, because the transitional authorities in Libya had banned intermediaries, “neither the NAS or Fethi Salaani’s names appear in any agreement”.
The companies were contracted by the Libyan authorities in late 2011 to treat war wounded in Sweden.
The paper said that one of it sources “stated that a representative of Transmedica was ready to pay as much as 20 percent of the contract amount as commission to NAS”. It was uncertain, the paper added, whether Skane Care had given similar promises.
It added: “Transmedica broke off collaboration with NAS after a month of requests made by the Libyan government. But according to the payments now uncovered, Skane Care held on to its partnership with NAS at least until February 2013.”
Several Libyan patients arrived in Sweden and were treated by both Skane and Transmedica, the paper said. “Both companies flew down to Libya to select patients”, it added, and both “received payment in advance”. According to Sydsvenskan, Skane earned $7.8 million treating Libyan war wounded.
In statement on its website, Skane Care says that it has forwarded a report to the police “on suspicion of improper money transfer to a foreign company”. It adds that “the name found on the unexplained invoices appears to be identical to the name that we have encountered in connection with the Libya project.”
The invoices, says Skane Care’s chairman since May 2012, Ingrid Bengtsson-Rijavec, “cannot be linked by us to known agreements or purchased services. We lack information on the purpose for which the money was paid. This is the basis for our report to the police about suspected irregularities. We have full confidence that the police will now investigate this further and identify what has happened.”