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Hà Nội's CDC Director arrested over breaches in purchase of COVID-19 testing machine

Update: April, 22/2020 - 19:51
Suspects detained over breaches in medical supplies purchase. From left: Nguyễn Nhật Cảm, head of Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control (CDC); Nguyễn Vũ Hà Thanh, head of Hà Nội CDC’s financial and accounting department; and Lê Xuân Tuấn, an employee in the department. — VNA/VNS File Photo

HÀ NỘI — Six officials along with the director of Hà Nội’s Centre for Disease Control have been detained over alleged wrongdoings in purchasing COVID-19 diagnostic equipment, Hà Nội Police announced Wednesday afternoon.

Initial investigations revealed claims the suspects colluded to jack up the price of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines, used in testing for the novel coronavirus, which “result in particularly in serious losses to the State”.

The police said the case involves Hà Nội CDC (under the municipal health department), Nhân Thành Asset Valuation and Auctioning JSC, and Việt Nam Scientific and Material Science Company Limited (MSTVN Co., Ltd) and “certain other relevant units”.

The detained suspects in the case include 57-year-old Nguyễn Nhật Cảm, director of Hà Nội CDC; Nguyễn Vũ Hà Thanh, 41, head of Hà Nội CDC’s financial and accounting department; and Lê Xuân Tuấn, 38, an employee in the department.

Four other suspects are from private companies alleged to have been in collusion with the city’s CDC – Đào Thế Vinh, 45-year-old, director of MSTVN; Nguyễn Trần Duy, 40, director of Nhân Thành company; Nguyễn Ngọc Nhất, 34, an employee of Vitech Development Co., Ltd; and Nguyễn Thanh Tuyền, 35, an employee of Phương Đông Medical Equipment Co., Ltd.

Earlier this week, Nguyễn Đức Chung, chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee, confirmed that the Ministry of Public Security’s police department for corruption, economic crimes and smuggling (C03) had summoned officials from Hà Nội’s CDC for questioning.

“The current context of the pandemic is certainly aggravating circumstance for the violations,” Chung said.

Chung said the city’s authorities were aware that there was price gouging happening and suspected that Hà Nội CDC and purchasers might be at fault.

The C03 unit said it is clarifying the violations of each suspect and trying to recover the losses, and expanding the scope of the case. — VNS


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