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The health minister and the mayor of Hanoi have been arrested on suspicion of being complicit in a $170 million coronavirus test-kit scandal, according to the public security ministry.

The arrests come as the Communist government of Vietnam ramps up anti-corruption measures in the waken of the Viet A incident, in which officers were corrupted to supply clinics with overestimated Covid-19 test kits.

Health Minister Ngoc Anh was arrested late Tuesday on suspicion of “violating regulations on the management and usage of State assets, affecting damage and waste” while functioning as minister of science and technology, according to a statement on the public security ministry’s website.

The mayor of Hanoi, Nguyen Thanh Long, has also been charged with “abusing positions and benefits while executing official tasks.”

According to a statement on the website, “the Ministry of Public Security implemented the verdicts and orders in accordance with legislation after the Supreme People’s Procuracy approved them.”

Before they were detained, the two were purged from the Communist Party and their employment were taken away from them.

In recent months, a number of other provincial Centers for Disease Control (CDC) employees have been found guilty for their participation in the development, production, and distribution of Viet A’s covid test kits, as well as its approval.

Phan Quoc Viet – Viet A’s director-general, is accused of paying $172 million to health officials to sell the company’s kits for far more than their manufacturing costs.

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