Prosecutors recommend former deputy health minister get 30 to 36-month sentence

Created 22 November 2022
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The charges centre around the purchase of medicines to prevent and control the influenza A(H5N1) epidemic between the health ministry and Cửu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company.

Defendants at the court. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội People's Procuracy on Tuesday recommended that a trial panel give deputy minister of health Cao Minh Quang a suspended sentence of 30 to 36 months over a medicine deal that caused more than US$3.8 million in damages to the State budget.

The trial of Quang and eight other defendants started on Monday.

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

Quang and four defendants, who are former officers of the ministry, were charged with "lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences," according to the provisions of Article 285, Clause 2 of the 1999 Penal Code.

Those four defendants are Dương Huy Liệu, former director of the ministry’s Planning and Finance Department; Nguyễn Nam Liên, former deputy director of the ministry’s Planning and Finance Department cum deputy head of the ministry’s Management Board of the plan for prevention and control of the influenza A/H5N1 epidemic; Phạm Thị Minh Nga, former chief accountant of the Management Board; and Nguyễn Việt Hùng, former deputy director of the ministry’s Drug Administration of Việt Nam.

The Hà Nội People's Procuracy recommended the trial panel give Liệu a 24- to 30-month suspended sentence, Liên 20-24 months in prison, Nga a 18- to 24-month suspended sentence and Hùng 30-36 months in prison. Hùng was already sentenced to three years in prison at a previous trial so the People's Procuracy proposed to sentence Hùng a total of 66-72 months in prison.

Three other defendants are Lương Văn Hóa, former general director of the Cuu Long Pharmaceutical; Nguyễn Văn Thanh Hải, former chief accountant of the company; Ngô Hữu Hiếu Nghĩa, director of the company’s branch in HCM City and head of the company’s Export and Import Office. They are charged with "abusing positions and powers while performing official duties" according to the provisions of Article 356, Clause 3 of the 2015 Penal Code. They were recommended to be sentenced between six and nine years in prison.

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

The purchase price of the drug was determined on the basis of the price of the 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 at a price of US$9.1 million from a foreign partner. The company paid $5.25 million while the remaining $3.85 million was set to be paid 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 $3.85 million for the company.

However, Hóa directed his subordinates to issue false business reports and documents to conceal the price reduction to illegally keep the $3.85 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 $3.85 million to the foreign partner but he did not direct relevant units to clarify this.

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

The Hà Nội People's Procuracy said among the defendants, Hoá, former general director of Cửu Long Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company, took the main responsibility in carrying out the drug production contract with the Ministry of Health. He knew clearly the legal regulations of price management for products and services ordered by the State with financial sources from the State budget, as well as the contract terms. Hóa directed his subordinates to issue false business reports and documents to conceal the price reduction to illegally keep the $3.85 million, of which, Hoá received more than VNĐ580 million in dividends and VNĐ430 million in remuneration.

Former deputy minister of health Quang asked to be absent at the second day of trial on Tuesday due to health reasons. — VNS


Source: VNN

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