Saturday , May 25 2024

Prosecutors announce indictments in Việt Á Case

Defendants at the court. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức

HÀ NỘI — Military prosecutors announced the indictment against Phan Quốc Việt and six other defendants in the notorious Việt Á Case on December 28.

Charges of “abusing position and power while on duty” were pressed against Trịnh Thanh Hùng, former Head of the Department of Science and Technology for Economic-Technical Sectors, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Hồ Anh Sơn, former Deputy Director of the Institute of Biomedicine and Pharmacy, Military Medical Academy.

Given the charges, the prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of 15 years for Trịnh Thanh Hùng, and between 11 to 13 years for Hồ Anh Sơn.

Four other defendants, charged with “violating bidding regulations to serious damages”, also faced jail sentences.

The prosecutors suggested Nguyễn Văn Hiệu, former Head of the Equipment and Supplies Division, Military Medical Academy, be behind bars for around seven to eight years; Lê Trường Minh, former Head of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry Department, Military Medical Academy, for six to seven years; Vũ Đình Hiệp, Việt Á Company’s former Deputy Director, for six to seven years; and Ngô Anh Tuấn, former Head of the Finance Department, Military Medical Academy, for three to five years.

Former General Director of Việt Á Company, Phan Quốc Việt, meanwhile, was slapped with two charges of “abusing position and power while on duty” and “violating bidding regulations to serious damages”. The prosecutors recommended a 15-year prison term for the first charge and a 10- to 11-year term for the second.

Collectively, he would serve 25 to 26 years in prison.

In response to the indictment, Việt admitted committing the wrongdoings but he claimed that he did so “not for his gains”. He said it didn’t make sense for him to risk his life at the pandemic epicentre, only to gain something.

“If I had a chance to turn back time, I would do what I have done again. Despite being against the law, what I have done was necessary to contain the pandemic,” said Việt.

According to the indictment, as COVID-19 was emerging globally, the board of the Military Medical Academy called for the formulation of research teams to develop testing kits for COVID-19.

In January 2020, Trịnh Thanh Hùng, Phan Quốc Việt and Hồ Anh Sơn collaborated with Phan Quốc Việt to make Việt Á part of their team and secured a licence for the company to mass produce 20,000 testing kits.

In return, Phan Quốc Việt greased Hùng’s palm with US$350,000 and Sơn’s with VNĐ2.5 billion ($103,000). He also paid VNĐ7.1 billion ($293,000) to a group of officers in the academy, who were involved in bid rigging in Bắc Ninh, Bắc Giang and HCM City from May to December 2021. — VNS

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