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Viet A’s general director accused of profitting VND1.2 trillion from test kit’s price gouging

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Phan Quoc Viet, founder and general director of Viet A Technology
Corporation, is facing allegations of offering bribes totaling VND106 billion to high-ranking officials and making illicit gains of VND1.2 trillion through inflated prices of Covid test kits.

The Investigation Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security (C03) recently concluded its investigation into the Viet A case on August 18 and recommended filing charges against 38 individuals related to the matter.

Phan Quoc Viet is among those being considered for charges, including bribery and violations of bidding regulations that led to severe consequences.

During the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Government tasked the Ministry of Science and Technology and scientific institutions with developing bioproducts for pandemic control. Allegedly, Viet collaborated with Trinh Thanh Hung, former deputy head of the ministry’s Department of Science and Technology, to allow Viet A to participate in a testing kit research project.

Subsequently, Viet worked with Nguyen Van Trinh, assistant to Deputy Prime Minister, Nguyen Thanh Long, former Minister of Health, and Nguyen Huynh, Long’s former secretary, to inappropriately claim the State-owned research test kit as a product of Viet A and obtain permits for its circulation.

The investigation findings indicate that Viet A significantly inflated the prices of each Covid test kit to VND470,000, far exceeding their actual value of VND143,000 each.

Reportedly, Viet A Technology Corporation earned more than VND4.2 trillion in revenue during 2020 and 2021. The company manufactured 8.7 million test kits and distributed 8.3 million kits valued at over VND3.9 trillion to various healthcare facilities.

Through price manipulation, the corporation is accused of making illicit profits amounting to over VND1.2 trillion. Of this sum, the company allegedly received payments for 5.9 million test kits, totaling over VND2.2 trillion in value.

Viet provided Hung with a total of US$350,000 (around VND8 billion) on two separate occasions as part of their agreement to share revenues from test kit sales.

Furthermore, other high-ranking officials are implicated in the case. Viet, the alleged mastermind, reportedly offered them up to VND106 billion in bribes. Former Minister Long is alleged to have received US$2.25 million (about VND51 billion), while his secretary purportedly received VND4 billion in bribes from Viet.

Additional payments were allegedly made to Trinh and Chu Ngoc Anh (Minister of Science and Technology), each receiving US$200,000. Nguyen Minh Tuan (head of the Department of Health Equipment and Works) and Nguyen Nam Lien (head of the Financial Planning Department) allegedly accepted bribes of US$300,000 and US$100,000, respectively.

Numerous other high-ranking officials are also implicated in allegedly receiving bribes from Viet.

 

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