Wednesday , September 28 2022

Hanoi chairman, health minister face disciplinary actions over Covid test kit scam

The Communist Party has recommended disciplinary actions against Hanoi chairman Chu Ngoc Anh and health minister Nguyen Thanh Long amid investigations into a Covid-19 test kit scam.

According to a Wednesday announcement, the Party’s Central Inspection Committee proposed to the Politburo, the Party’s decision-making body, to consider disciplinary actions for the Party Committee of the Ministry of Science and Technology during the 2016-2021 period, the Party Committee of the Ministry of Health during the 2016-2021 period, Hanoi chairman Chu Ngoc Anh who served as the science minister during the period, and health minister Nguyen Thanh Long.

Deputy health minister Nguyen Truong Son, head of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology Dang Duc Anh and deputy science minister Pham Cong Tac received warnings. Deputy health minister Do Xuan Tuyen and chief inspector of the health ministry Nguyen Manh Cuong were reprimanded.

There are four levels of disciplinary actions for Party members: reprimand, warning, expulsion and demotion.

Previously in March, the Central Inspection Committee said the Party Committee and officials of the health ministry for the 2016-2021 period were negligent in their management, allowing violations at the ministry and its units regarding the approval, management and sale of Covid-19 test kits. The Party Committee and officials of the science ministry for the 2016-2021 period were similarly negligent in their management.

“Such violations have resulted in severe consequences, losses to the money and assets of the State, caused social unrest and affected the reputation of the Party, the health ministry and science ministry,” the Central Inspection Committee said.

Phan Quoc Viet, general director of Viet A, admitted in January that he had inflated the price of a Covid-19 test kit by 45 percent and sent around VND800 billion ($35.2 million) as “bonuses” to company partners. Viet said he had bribed certain individuals to earn over VND500 billion.

Several officials, including high-ranking military generals and directors of provincial Center for Diseases Control, have been arrested or put under criminal investigation for their involvement in the case.

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