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Friday, June 14, 2024

Viet A’s general director faces 26-year jail term

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Phan Quoc Viet, founder and general director of Viet A Technology Corporation, would get a jail term of 25 or 26 years if he is found guilty in the notorious Covid-19 test kit price gouging scandal.

The military court of Hanoi on December 27 opened the first-instance trial of seven defendants in the case involving Viet A and the Vietnam Military Medical University (VMMU).

The prosecution has proposed Phan Quoc Viet be imprisoned for 15 years for abuse of power and 10 to 11 years for violating bidding regulations. The combined sentence recommended is 25 or 26 years in jail.

A prison sentence of 15 years has been proposed for Trinh Thanh Hung, former deputy head of the Department of Science and Technology for Economic Technical Branches at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Former Colonel Ho Anh Son, deputy director of the Institute of Biomedicine and Pharmacy at VNMU faces a jail term of 11-13 years. Both are charged with abusing their powers while performing their official duties.

Regarding those defendants violating bidding regulations, Nguyen Van Hieu, former head of VNMU’s Materials and Equipment Supplies Department, might be sentenced to 7-8 years in prison.

Ngo Anh Tuan, former head of the finance department, was recommended to receive a sentence ranging from 3-5 years in prison. Le Truong Minh, former head of the pharmaceutical department, might get 6-7 years behind bars, and the same sentence might be given to Vu Dinh Hiep, deputy general director of Viet A.

The indictment said when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, VNMU proposed developing test kits for research purposes with a total budget of VND18.98 billion. The research project was later implemented by the VNMU’s Institute of Military Medical Research, with Son as the project leader. Viet A also participated in the project.

Viet A was later allowed to independently produce 20,000 test kits.

A batch of Viet A test kits was tested at the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology. Phan Quoc Viet, leader of Viet A, used the test results to apply for a circulation permit. Their violations caused damages amounting to VND18.5 billion, the same sum which was allocated to VNMU for the research project.

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