VILNIUS – Lithuania's Prosecutor General's Office said on Wednesday it had handed over to court a criminal case on the procurement of COVID-19 rapid serological tests, adding that Lina Jaruseviciene, a former health minister, is accused of abuse of office.
The prosecution service says she "allegedly made unjustified and unlawful demands on the head and staff of the National Public Health Laboratory which is subordinate to the ministry".
"The order was to carry out unlawful actions that ran counter to legislation to unjustifiably grant privileges to Profarma, which resulted in significant material and non-material damage to the state and the Health Ministry," the statement reads.
The vice minister, who worked in the team of the then Health Minister Aurelius Veryga, resigned in August, 2020 after law enforcement brought suspicions against her.
The investigation focused on the laboratory's acquisition of more than 500,000 rapid tests from Profarma for more than 6 million euros.
Earlier this year, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the state had overpaid for the tests and ordered two companies, including Profarma, to repay the state more than 4 million euros.
At the time of Jaruseviciene's resignation, Veryga argued that the country's health system faced a lot of challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that quick and unconventional solutions were needed.
The Prosecutor General's Office points out that rapid serological tests are used to detect antibodies after the infection has passed, and are not used to diagnose COVID-19.
The case has been handed over to Vilnius City District Court.