Vietnam’s Covid-19 test kits and repatriation flights, which cost flyers exorbitant amounts of money during an already difficult time, were reportedly earning profits for corrupt officials.
Vietnam Express reports that each Vietnam-run repatriation flight during the pandemic earned profits of about USD 43,000, and many officials took advantage of these expensive flights to line their own pockets. Both government officials and travel directors accepted bribes connected to the official repatriation flights.
Several government officials have been arrested over these allegations, including Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ consular department, as well as three other ministry officials and several airline executives. Nguyen Dieu Mo, general director of Hanoi’s An Binh Air Services and Tourism Trading Co. Ltd, was arrested in connection to bribery in March.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long and former science minister, Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh, have both been accused by Vietnam’s Communist party of manipulating the cost of Covid-19 test kits.
Phan Quoc Viet, General Director of the technology company Viet A, admitted to his involvement in the scam, saying that he was involved in inflating the cost of test kits by about 45 percent in order to pay out “bonuses” of around USD 35 million.
The Central Inspection Committee and The Party’s Secretariat have said that the officials involved in the scandal are guilty of not only committing crimes but also of “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.”