Vietnam minister, Hanoi mayor expelled from party over corruption scandal

Hanoi, Vietnam — Vietnam’s health minister and the mayor of the capital Hanoi have been stripped of their Communist Party membership, the party said Monday, following accusations they were involved in a $172 million coronavirus test kit scandal.

The expulsions come as the communist nation ramps up an anti-corruption drive in the wake of the Viet A scandal, in which officials were bribed to supply hospitals with vastly overpriced COVID-19 test kits.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and Hanoi mayor Chu Ngoc Anh both face accusations of wrongdoing connected to the Viet A Technologies Company scandal, state media reported.

“The Party Central Committee decided to expel from the Party Mr Chu Ngoc Anh and Mr Nguyen Thanh Long,” Vietnam’s Communist Party Central Committee said in a statement published on their official website.

The two men could now face possible criminal charges.

Long and Ngoc Anh, a former minister of science and technology, have held their positions since 2020.

Hanoi’s recent anti-corruption drive has netted some significant figures, including Phan Quoc Viet, director-general of Viet A.

He faces charges of bribing health officials to sell the company’s kits to hospitals and provincial Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at prices significantly higher than the production cost, netting $172 million – $34 million of which was allegedly plowed back into further bribery.

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