Nguyễn Nhật Cảm (fifth from left), former director of the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control (CDC), and other defendants at Hà Nội People's Court on Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn
HÀ NỘI — A jail term from 10 to 11 years has been proposed for Nguyễn Nhật Cảm, former director of the Hà Nội Centre for Disease Control (CDC), for “violations on bidding regulations that caused serious consequences” related to the purchase of COVID-19 diagnostic machines at a higher price than their actual worth.
At the first-instance trial, the Hà Nội People’s Procuracy on Friday also proposed jail sentences of 7-8 years for Nguyễn Vũ Hà Thanh, 41, former head of the Hà Nội CDC’s Financial-Accounting Office; and Đào Thế Vinh, 45, Director of Việt Nam Scientific and Material Science Company Limited (MST).
A jail term of 6-7 years was sought for Nguyễn Trần Duy, 40, former General Director of Nhân Thành Asset Valuation and Auctioning JSC; and Nguyễn Ngọc Nhất, 44, an employee of Vitech Development Co.,Ltd.
Other defendants, including Nguyễn Thị Kim Dung, 47, former head of the Hà Nội CDC’s Organisation Office; Nguyễn Ngọc Quỳnh, former head of the Hà Nội CDC’s Professional Plan Office; and Nguyễn Thanh Tuyền, an employee of Phương Đông Medical Equipment Co.,Ltd were proposed for 5-6 years in jail.
Meanwhile, Lê Xuân Tuấn, an official of Hà Nội CDC; and Hoàng Kim Thu, former Chief Accountant of Hà Nội may face 2-3 years in jail.
According to the indictment by the Supreme People’s Procuracy, taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hà Nội’s decision to increase funding to buy more machinery and medical supplies to fight off COVID-19, from early February 2020, CDC former director Nguyễn Nhật Cảm colluded with Nhất, Tuyền and Vinh to raise the prices of medical machinery and equipment in a bidding package from Hà Nội CDC before carrying out normal procedures.
He then directed his employees to legalise all normal procedures, enabling MST to win the bid with a price they had agreed upon, resulting in an economic loss of over VNĐ5.4 billion (US$233,200).
Procurators said Cảm, born in 1963, was the mastermind of the case, and should be personally liable for VNĐ3.8 billion in the total amount of the loss.
Procurators remarked that the crimes have “greatly damaged the image and reputation of doctors, medical personnel and other individuals and organisations that are at the frontline of the COVID-19 fight, causing public uproar,” as the whole political system is marshalling every resource to protect people’s health.
The defendants earlier admitted to police that they jacked up the price of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) machines used in testing the new coronavirus by a factor of three. — VNS