Former deputy health minister gets suspended jail term over $3.8 mln state budget loss

By Thanh Lam   November 23, 2022 | 11:58 pm PT
Former deputy health minister gets suspended jail term over $3.8 mln state budget loss
Deputy Minister of Health at a trial in Hanoi on November 21, 2022. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Former deputy minister Cao Minh Quang received a 30-month suspended jail sentence in a case seeing health officials responsible for a $3.84-million state budget loss.

The Hanoi People's Court sentenced Quang on Thursday on the charge of "lacking responsibility that causes serious consequences."

Quang, 66, did not attend the last day of the four-day trial due to health reasons.

He was head of the Drug Administration of Vietnam from 2004 to 2007, then deputy health minister until 2013 before retiring.

Four other former Health Ministry officials received jail sentences for the same charge.

According to the verdict, Quang and the four officials had failed to check and evaluate terms to buy drug ingredients at discounted prices negotiated by Cuu Long Pharmaceutical JSC based in southern Vinh Long Province.

The failure led authorities to miss the fact that the drug firm was able to get a discount of $3.84 million on a purchase, the obscuring of which led to losses.

The court concluded that the five officials did not benefit from the state loss and therefore, did not request any compensation from them.

However, the five volunteered to pay VND1.9 billion ($76,800), including VND1.5 billion from Quang.

The court ordered Cu Long to pay the rest.

Luong Van Hoa, former director of Cuu Long, was sentenced to nine years in prison for "abuse of power or position in performance of official duties."

The court said he was aware of all state regulations and the terms of the drug production contract signed with the Health Ministry. Still, he had intentionally directed his subordinates to conduct false accounting, create fake documents, and make false reports to the ministry in order to retain $3.84 million of the state budget.

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