The Communist Party’s decision-making Politburo has ordered punishment against Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh for their involvement in a Covid test kit scam.
The order was made to the Party’s Central Committee Saturday, 18 days after the Party’s Central Inspection Committee proposed to the Politburo 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 Anh who served as the science minister during the period, and health minister Long.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long. Photo by Pham Chieu
The Party’s Secretariat, which manages personnel matters, also announced to expel Pham Cong Tac, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, for his involvement in the scandal.
There are four levels of disciplinary actions for Party members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion.
The Party agencies said that Anh, Long and Tac had violated the Party and the State’s regulations, “causing severe consequences, losses to the money and assets of the State, undermining the Covid-19 fight, causing social unrest and affecting the reputation of the Party, the health ministry and science ministry.”
Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh. Photo by Ngoc Thanh
Previously in March, the Central Inspection Committee said the Party Committee and officials of the health and science ministries in the 2016-2021 term were negligent in their management, allowing violations at the ministries and their units regarding the approval, management and sale of Covid-19 test kits.
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.
A series 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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