Defense Ministry Investigates Purchase of 1.5 Million Faulty Face Masks

YERUSHALAYIM -
N95 face mask. (fda.gov)

The Defense Ministry and police investigators announced on Wednesday that they have opened an investigation into the purchase of 1.5 million faulty N95-type protective face masks acquired for health workers, costing nearly NIS 5 million.

A 57-year-old Petach Tikvah resident and a 37-year-old Oranit resident were questioned for attempting to distribute the faulty N95 masks.

The affair began in April as part of the national procurement of medical equipment to deal with the coronavirus, when the Defense Ministry ordered from an Israeli importer about 1.5 million masks.

After the shipment arrived in Israel, it was suspected that the masks did not meet Health Ministry standards and they were prohibited from use. It is suspected that the importer tried to trick the Defense Ministry, and the masks were eventually checked and did not pass the criteria.

In the search conducted as part of the investigation, thousands of faulty masks were seized. The investigation is being conducted by the Police Fraud Unit and the Security Commissioner Investigation Unit, accompanied by the State Department’s Economic Department.