Former deputy minister of Health receives 30-month suspended sentence

November, 24/2022 - 14:14
He was found guilty of "lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences" in relation to a medicine deal that caused more than US$3.8 million in damages to the State budget.
Cao Minh Quang, former Deputy Minister of Health at the court. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên

HÀ NỘI — Former Deputy Minister of Health Cao Minh Quang has been jailed for 30 months, but the People’s Court of Hà Nội suspended the sentence meaning he will not go to prison. 

He was found guilty of "lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences" in relation to a medicine deal that caused more than US$3.8 million in damages to the State budget.

The charges centred around the purchase of medicines to prevent and control the A(H5N1) influenza epidemic between the health ministry and Cửu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company.

The court also gave Dương Huy Liệu, former director of the ministry’s Planning and Finance Department, a 24-month suspended sentence.

Nguyễn Nam Liên, former deputy director of the ministry’s Planning and Finance Department and deputy head of the ministry’s management board of the plan for prevention and control of A(H5N1) influenza epidemic, also received a 24-month sentence.

Phạm Thị Minh Nga, former chief accountant of the management board, received a 15-month suspended sentence.

Nguyễn Việt Hùng, former deputy director of the ministry’s Drug Administration of Việt Nam, received a 30-month sentence.

All the four of defendants were charged for "lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences."

Lương Văn Hóa, former general director of the Cửu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company, was jailed for nine years for "abusing position and powers while performing official duties" according to the provisions of Article 356, Clause 3 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Nguyễn Văn Thanh Hải, former chief accountant of the company, was jailed for six years and Ngô Hữu Hiếu Nghĩa, director of the company’s branch in HCM City and head of the company’s Export and Import Office, sentenced to five years in prison for "abusing position and powers while performing official duties.”

The trial panel said that the defendants, who are former officials at the health ministry, were assigned responsibilities in the management and use of public property but lacked of responsibilities, resulting in a loss of over US$3.8 million to the State.

Meanwhile, the defendants' behaviour at Cửu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company is believed to be dangerous to society, infringing on the proper operation of State agencies and economic organisations in performing their official duties assigned by the State, the trial panel said.

Regarding civil liability, the court determined that the amount of more than $3.8 million was accounted in the business activities of the company. Therefore, the court forced the company to compensate the amount to the health ministry.

Indictment

According to the indictment, in 2005, while the influenza A/H5N1 epidemic showed complex developments, the health ministry ordered the company to manufacture Oseltamivir drug from imported raw materials.

The purchase price of the drug is determined on the basis of the price of raw materials negotiated with a foreign supplier.

If the company negotiated to reduce the price of raw materials, the authorities would consider adjusting the price of the drug.

In 2006, the company imported 520kg of raw materials with a price of US$9.1 million from a foreign partner. The company already paid $5.252 million while the remaining $3.848 million was set to pay six months later from the date of receiving the raw materials.

However, the foreign partner then reduced the purchase price of the raw materials by $3.848 million for the company.

Hóa directed his subordinates to legalise business reports and documents to conceal the price reduction to illegally keep the amount of $3.848 million.

At that time, Quang was assigned to lead the steering committee to deal with issues related to Tamiflu, raw materials and Oseltamivir.

Quang knew that the company did not pay the amount of $3.848 million to the foreign partner but he did not direct relevant units to further clarify.

Later, the Ministry of Finance continued sending an official dispatch requesting the health ministry to clarify but Quang still failed to fulfil his assigned duties, allowing the company to embezzle and illegally use the money. — VNS

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