|Former minister of health Nguyễn Thanh Long. — Photo baochinhphu.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Former minister of health Nguyễn Thanh Long received bribes of US$2.25 million (over VNĐ51 billion) related to the COVID-19 test kit case at Việt Á company, according to the Investigation Police Agency of the public security ministry.
Long received $2.2 million indirectly through his secretary and $50,000 directly. All were given by Phan Quốc Việt, general director of Việt Á Technologies.
Long was recommended for prosecution for receiving bribes while approving the issuance of circulation registration numbers, price negotiation and price checks of COVID-19 test kits, causing particularly serious damage to the State’s assets.
According to the investigation, Long knew that the COVID-19 test kit was a product of a research project assigned by the Ministry of Science and Technology to the Military Medical Academy, which was owned by the State.
Việt Á Company was not eligible to be granted a circulation registration number, but at the request of Phan Quốc Việt, Long directed his subordinates to create conditions for the company to receive a temporary circulation registration number.
Long represented the Ministry of Health to negotiate the price of the test kit with Việt Á, with the participation of the Ministry of Finance’s representatives.
The final negotiated price for each test kit was VNĐ470,000.
The interdisciplinary inspection team also discovered that Việt Á Company committed violations in production materials and proposed the Ministry of Health revoke the registration number.
However, former minister Long neither gave timely instructions nor issued inspection conclusions following the Prime Minister’s order.
The Ministry of Health published baseless prices on the ministry’s portal.
Long’s violations created conditions for Việt Á to sell test kits to other units and localities at the inflated prices, according to the police.
Long also introduced Phan Quốc Việt to some local leaders to sell test kits.
At the time of prosecution and detention, Long was investigated for abusing his authority while on duty.
After investigating that he received bribes for many times from Việt Á’s general director, the investigation agency changed the crime and recommended “receiving bribes”.
Chu Ngọc Anh, former minister of science and technology and former chairman of Hà Nội’s People’s Committee, was recommended for prosecution for violating regulations on management and use of the State's assets, causing loss and waste.
The ministerial-level officials proposed to be prosecuted in the case also include Nguyễn Minh Tuấn, former director of the Department of Medical Equipment and Construction, Ministry of Health; Nguyễn Nam Liên, director of the Financial Planning Department, Ministry of Health; Trịnh Thanh Hùng, deputy director of the Science - Technology Department of Economic and Technical Sectors, Ministry of Science and Technology; and Nguyễn Huỳnh, deputy head of the Price Management Department of the Drug Administration of Việt Nam, former Secretary of Minister Long. — VNS