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Former officials prosecuted in COVID-19 test kit scam

Former officials prosecuted in COVID-19 test kit scam


The Investigation Police Agency under the Ministry of Public Security on June 7 decided to prosecute and arrest three former officials of Hanoi and ministries for their role in a COVID-19 test kit scam at Viet A Technologies JSC.

Chu Ngoc Anh, former Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee and former Minister of Science and Technology, and Pham Cong Tac, former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, are now under investigation for “violations of regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness.”

Nguyen Thanh Long, former Minister of Health, was prosecuted and arrested for "abuse of power and position while on duty."

Search warrants were also issued against the three.

According to the agency, both Anh and Tac, as Minister and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, violated legal regulations in the management and use of the national science-technology project on COVID-19 test kit research and production, causing losses and wastefulness to State assets.

Meanwhile, Long abused his power and position, and acted counter to legal regulations in the process of granting circulation registration, negotiating prices, and checking negotiated prices for test kits provided by the company, causing extremely serious losses to State assets.

Earlier, Long and Anh were expelled from the Party during an extraordinary meeting of the Party Central Committee.

The National Assembly (NA) on June 7 dismissed Long from the positions as the deputy of the 15th legislature and the Health Minister over his wrongdoings.

Long showed a lack of responsibility, lax leadership and management, and loosened supervision and monitoring, while supporting Viet A during the process of granting temporary and official circulation registration, negotiating prices, and checking negotiated prices, leading to the issuance of notices on the price of biological products and medical equipment for diagnosing COVID-19 that violated regulations.

His wrongdoings have undermined the COVID-19 fight, caused social unrest and affected the reputation of the Part organisation and the Ministry of Health.

On December 10, 2021, the police agency began investigations into the case at Viet A by raiding 16 sites in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other localities, and competent authorities prosecuted the first group involved one week later, including the company’s General Director Phan Quoc Viet.

The Ministry of Public Security has prosecuted more than 30 individuals in the case so far, for their violations of bidding regulations that cause serious consequences, bribery and abuse of power while on duty.

More than 30 others, including former leaders and officials of Departments of Health, Centres for Disease Control and hospitals in cities and provinces were also arrested for their involvement in the case, which is now under the management and monitoring of the central steering committee for the prevention and control of corruption and other negative phenomena.

At its six thematic meeting, the Hanoi People’s Council also dismissed Anh from the post of Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee for the 2021-2026 tenure.

The Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission said the Party Civil Affairs Committee and leaders of the Ministry of Science and Technology showed a lack of responsibility, and lax leadership and management, enabling some officials to violate regulations of the Party and the State during the implementation of the above-said 19 trillion VND (819.31 million USD) project, which was carried out by the Vietnam Military Medical University, with the participation of four members of Viet A, including its General Director./.