Vietnam arrests two military officials in Covid test kit scam

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Colonel Ho Anh Son, deputy director of the academy’s Military Medical Research Institute, is being investigated for “embezzlement” and “abuse of power and official position” under the Criminal Code while that Senior Colonel Nguyen Van Hieu, head of the Equipment and Supplies Department, is being investigated for “violation of tender regulations, resulting in serious consequences”.

Son was leading the research project to study and produce Covid-19 test kits in collaboration with Ho Chi Minh City-based medical technology company Viet A Technology Corporation.

Phan Quoc Viet, general manager of Viet A, admitted in January that he inflated the price of a Covid-19 test kit by 45% and sent around 800 billion VND ($35.2 million) in “ bonuses” to the company’s partners.

Viet said he bribed some people to earn over VND500 billion.

Police said he conspired with Center for Disease Control (CDC) leaders in several localities to win bids for his company’s Covid-19 test kits, and bribed Hai Duong CDC director Pham Duy Tien with 27 billion VND.

Ho Anh Son, deputy director of the Military Medical Research Institute of the Military Medical Academy, December 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh

Colonel Son said VnExpress last December, shortly after Viet’s arrest, that Viet A had joined the research team to produce the test kit from the beginning due to the urgent demand for home use.

“The test kit produces high accuracy and the Viet A violations have nothing to do with the research project,” he said.

Last Friday, the Communist Party’s Central Inspection Committee, the Party’s main monitoring body, concluded that the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of the Military Medical Academy violated the principle of democratic centralism and labor regulations. of the Party, in addition to being irresponsible and having loosened the direction and supervision to allow the officials of the academy to violate the regulations when proposing and carrying out scientific and technological tasks at the national level, who research and manufacture the test kit in collaboration with Viet A.

In connection with the Viet A scam, 21 people are currently under investigation and assets worth a total of VND 1.6 trillion have been seized.

Among them are Nguyen Nam Lien, head of the Financial Planning Department of the Ministry of Health, Nguyen Minh Tuan, former head of the Ministry’s Medical Equipment and Construction Department, and Trinh Thanh Hung, Deputy Head of the Department of science and technology for the economy -Technical departments under the Ministry of Science and Technology. They are being questioned for “abuse of power and official position”.

Directors of several CDCs, including those in Nghe An, Binh Duong, Bac Giang and Hai Duong provinces, have been arrested for “violating tender regulations, resulting in serious consequences”.

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