Saturday , March 2 2024

Military officer faces disciplinary actions over Covid test kit scam

The director of Vietnam Military Medical University in Hanoi is facing disciplinary actions for his involvement in a Covid-19 test kit scam scandal at a HCMC technology firm.

The Communist Party Central Inspection Committee on Thursday asked the Secretariat, the Party’s unit in charge of personnel issues, to discipline Lieutenant-General Do Quyet, director of the university.

Hoang Van Luong, deputy director of the university, was recommended to be disciplined as well.

Colonel Ho Anh Son, deputy director of the university’s Military Medical Research Institute, and Senior Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu, head of the Equipment and Supplies Department, were expelled from the Party. Son was previously detained to be investigated for embezzlement and power abuse for his involvement in the test kit scam, while Hieu was also detained to be investigated for bidding violations.

Son was head of the research project to study and produce Covid-19 test kits in collaboration with Ho Chi Minh City-based medical tech firm Viet A.

Earlier this month, the Party’s Inspection Committee concluded that the Party Committee at the Military Medical University has been negligent and lack monitoring, which allowed violations at the university regarding the research and manufacturing of Covid-19 test kits from Viet A.

Such violations have caused losses to the national budget, affected the Covid-19 fight, caused social distress and affected the reputation of the Party and the university to the point where disciplinary actions must be considered, the committee added.

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.

The police have said that certain officials have conspired with leaders of local Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to win bids for Viet A’s test kits.

Previously, 25 people, including high-ranking officials of provincial CDCs, were investigated for involvement in the Viet A scam.

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