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Deputy PM's assistant arrested in pandemic flight bribery case

By Viet Tuan   September 27, 2022 | 04:10 am PT
Deputy PM's assistant arrested in pandemic flight bribery case
Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant to Vietnam's Standing Deputy Prime Minister. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security
Nguyen Quang Linh, assistant to Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking bribes while organizing Covid-19 repatriation flights.

Linh, 48, is the 19th person to face criminal charges after investigation was launched eight months ago in the pandemic flight bribery scandal.

Earlier, he and To Anh Dung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, have been expelled from the Communist Party.

The Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam, in charge of personnel affairs at the Party, announced the expulsion at a meeting chaired by Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on Tuesday.

According to the Secretariat, Linh, assistant to Vietnam's Standing Deputy PM and former foreign minister Pham Binh Minh, had abused his position, violated working regulations and principles, as well as the Party’s regulations and the state’s laws on organizing flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

Dung, arrested in April also under allegations of accepting bribes in the organization of the repatriation flights, had lacked responsibility, and violated the Party and state’s regulations on organizing those flights, it said.

Both are considered to have committed violations that cause "very serious consequences," leading to public upset and affecting the Party image.

Vietnam organized around 400 repatriation flights and brought back over 70,000 citizens from over 60 countries and territories after the pandemic struck.

Many people had to buy very expensive tickets and undergo troublesome procedures to get a flight home.

Several officials have been arrested on accusations of taking and giving bribes, including officials at the Ministry of Public Security, the Health Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the Government Office, and businesspeople.

Vietnam's Communist Party has four modes of punishment for misconduct by official members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion. The government would impose other punishments later.

 
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