The detainees are part of a network of businessmen, entrepreneurs and government officials. They are suspected of falsifying public procurement tenders for Sicily’s healthcare.
The tenders were for contracts dating back to 2016, amounting to nearly 600m euros.
The 55-year-old Candela, who has held senior positions in Sicily’s health care system over the years, was awarded in 2016 by Italian President Sergio Matarella with a presidential silver medal for merit in the field of public health.
Authorities in Palermo have also ordered the confiscation of seven companies based in Sicily and Lombardy, as well as 160,000 euros in paid bribes.