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Former health minister faces charges for bribe-taking in Viet A case

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Former Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long and former Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh have been facing charges of taking bribes and violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, respectively, in the Viet A case.

The Investigation Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security (C03) announced the completion of the investigation on August 17 and proposed filing charges against 38 defendants, including Long and Anh.

Long was accused of taking bribes of over VND51 billion to facilitate Viet A Technology Corporation’s acquisition of temporary and official circulation registration records for Covid test kits. His charges have been altered from “abuse of power and authority while doing official duties” to “accepting bribes” six months after his arrest.

According to investigators, Long was aware that Viet A Technology Corporation did not meet the requirements for gaining registration records for the circulation of Covid test kits.

However, he received bribes worth VND51 billion from Phan Quoc Viet, general director of Viet A, then intervened to issue permits for the test kit’s circulation. He also violated regulations on the price negotiations, causing serious losses for the State.

Other five individuals being accused of the same charges are Nguyen Huynh, former secretary of Long; Nguyen Minh Tuan, former head of the ministry’s Department of Health Equipment and Works;  Nguyen Nam Lien, former head of the ministry’s Financial Planning Department; Pham Duy Tuyen, former director of the Hai Duong Province CDC; Trinh Thanh Hung, former deputy head of the Department of Science and Technology under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

C03 also proposed filing charges against Viet A’s general director Phan Quoc Viet, deputy director Vu Dinh Hiep, and some staff for their wrongdoings in the bidding procedures and giving bribes.

Chu Ngoc Anh, chairman of Hanoi City and former Minister of Science and Technology, is proposed to face charges of violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness for the State.

Anh was found to have infringed regulations on the assignment, management and use of national scientific and technological research on Covid test kits, causing losses and wastefulness for the State.

Other former high-ranking officials involved to the case include Pham Xuan Thang, former Secretary of the Hai Duong Party’s Committee; Nguyen Van Trinh, former Assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister; along with several former heads of departments, deputy heads of ministries, provincial leaders, healthcare personnel, and CDC officials from various provinces and cities.

The Viet A case is considered a “mass corruption” case due to its large scale and numerous defendants from central government agencies to local levels. After nearly two years of investigation, authorities have initiated legal proceedings against 111 individuals.

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