Two Vietnamese officers are arrested in a corruption scandal over Covid check kits.
Vietnam’s well being minister and the mayor of the capital, Hanoi, have been faraway from their posts and arrested this week after being accused of taking part in an element in a Covid-19 check equipment scandal that has led to fees in opposition to dozens of presidency officers.
The well being minister, Nguyen Thanh Lengthy, and Hanoi’s mayor, Chu Ngoc Anh, have been stripped of their membership within the ruling Communist Get together and their authorities positions earlier than their arrests on Tuesday, native media reported.
Mr. Lengthy and Mr. Anh, each in detention, couldn’t be reached for remark. Neither spoke publicly in regards to the allegations in opposition to them earlier than their arrest.
In a long-running price-fixing investigation, Viet A Know-how Company is accused by the authorities of marking up the value of kits it marketed by as a lot as 45 p.c and of bribing native officers to make use of its check as a substitute of others.
The corporate obtained greater than $172 million from gross sales of the kits, native media reported. Viet A Know-how Company’s director basic, Phan Quoc Viet, was arrested in December.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Safety stated in January that Mr. Viet had confessed to paying native officers greater than $34 million to make use of the Viet A check equipment and that by inflating costs, the corporate had gained greater than $21 million.
Vietnam, one of many few Communist-ruled states on the planet, has lengthy suffered from high-level corruption. An anti-corruption drive has led to the arrest of quite a few officers in recent times.
Mr. Lengthy, the ousted well being minister, and Mr. Anh, the chairman of the Folks’s Committee of Hanoi, who beforehand served as minister of science and know-how, face fees of abusing their energy.
In revoking the pair’s Communist Get together membership, get together leaders concluded that their political ideology and morality had grow to be degraded and that that they had violated get together and state guidelines. Get together leaders additionally discovered that their actions had brought about main losses to the state finances.
Talking at a web-based convention in January, Mr. Lengthy stated that the costs raised by the scandal “are very severe and must be dealt with strictly” however added that they need to not undercut the contributions by medical employees and well being officers in combating the pandemic.
In November, the minister informed Parliament that he was “heartbroken” over the price-fixing fees in opposition to well being officers.
“Though laws on bidding are in place, there are nonetheless violations, embezzlement and corruption,” he stated. “We condemn them. The authorities will deal with it in keeping with the legislation.”
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