Animal health official takes bribes to allow import of banned products

By Quoc Thang   September 8, 2023 | 01:30 am PT
Head of a regional animal health office is under investigation for receiving bribes to let businesses import banned beef blood powder from Europe.

Police in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday arrested Bach Duc Luu, head of the Regional Animal Health Office No.6, and the office's deputy head Ly Hoai Vu to investigate them for "taking bribes."

Bach Duc Luu, head of the Regional Animal Health Office No.6. Photo by the office

Bach Duc Luu, head of the Regional Animal Health Office No.6. Photo by the office

For the same charge, Nguyen Minh Thanh, an office's staff, Nguyen Van Trung and Tran Trung Nhan, both inspectors at the office, have also been detained.

Headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, the office is put under the Ministry of Health's Animal Health Department to manage veterinary medicine, and diagnose and testing animal diseases, and quarantine imported and exported animals and animal products (including seafood) in 11 localities of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan in the central region, and HCMC and the southern provinces of Dong Nai, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Tay Ninh.

According to police, Tran Nguyen Binh and his wife Do Thuy Nhung established five companies in HCMC to import materials to make animal feed.

A previous investigation launched into their companies found they imported beef blood powder from Europe knowing the product is prohibited in Vietnam following the mad cow diseases in several European countries.

To facilitate the imports, Binh and Nhung have forged papers to change the name of the products into pork blood powder.

They also changed the origin of the products and falsified health certificates from the exporting country.

Then they bribed animal health officials so that they would ignore those altered documents while inspecting the products at ports and allow them to get into Vietnam.

So far this year, Binh and Nhung's companies have imported more than 77,000 tons of beef blood powder worth VND950 billion (US$39.5 million).

Police said officials at the Regional Animal Health Office No.6 have received bribes from not just Binh and Nhung but other companies in other localities to keep a close eye on imports of prohibited products.

Inspector Nhan said he and other officials have received VND12.8 billion in total.

Of them sum, he said that office chief Luu pocketed VND4.6 billion while deputy chief Vu got VND3.2 billion.

Binh and Nhung have been arrested for "smuggling" and "giving bribes."

Police in HCMC are working with forces in other localities to expand the investigation.

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