Vietnam appoints acting health minister after predecessor sacked over test kit scandal

By Viet Tuan   July 14, 2022 | 09:05 pm PT
Dao Hong Lan, Party chief of the northern Bac Ninh Province, has been appointed acting minister of health over a month after the former one was arrested.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced the appointment Friday at the ministry's office in Hanoi.

Lan, 51, is a native of the northern Hai Duong Province. She holds an economic master's degree and is a member of the 13th Party Central Committee for the 2021-2026 term.

Dao Hong Lan has been appointed acting minister of health, July 15, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Dao Hong Lan has been appointed acting minister of health, July 15, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

She used to work as a specialist of Social Insurance Department under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and then became the department's deputy head.

Later, she worked as deputy chief of office and then office chief and deputy minister of labor.

In March 2018, she was appointed deputy secretary of the Bac Ninh Provincial Party Committee.

In Sep. 2020, she became the secretary, making her the first-ever female Party chief of Bac Ninh.

On Jun. 7, Nguyen Thanh Long was arrested after being dismissed as health minister for his involvement in a Covid-19 test kit fraud in 2020.

Long, 56, is under investigation for "abuse of power or position in performance of official duties."

The Communist Party's agencies concluded that he had violated the Party and the State's regulations, "causing severe consequences, losses to the money and assets of the State, undermining the Covid-19 fight, causing social unrest and affecting the reputation of the Party, the health ministry and science ministry."

According to inspectors, Long had "intervened and supported" Viet A Technologies JSC in the process of granting temporary and official circulation registration books, negotiating prices, and checking negotiated prices for test kits provided by the company.

Long had issued notices on the price of biological products and medical equipment for diagnosing Covid-19 that violated regulations.

Phan Quoc Viet, general director of Viet A, admitted in January that he had inflated the price of test kits by 45 percent, bribed certain individuals and paid around VND800 billion ($35.2 million) as "bonus" to company partners.

So far around 70 people have been detained, including former Hanoi chairman Chu Ngoc Anh.

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