Vietnam on Tuesday dismissed and arrested its health minister Nguyen Thanh Long, as well as Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh.
Health Minister Long was accused of violating the Communist Party’s rules and allegedly causing losses to the state budget, state media reported.
The sacking of the minister comes amid an intensifying anti-corruption drive in the Southeast Asian country that was launched in 2016.
Dozens of senior health officials have been arrested in recent weeks, accused of wrongdoings in medical equipment procurement, including COVID-19 test kits. Senior finance and diplomatic officials have also been targeted, and many have faced trials and been jailed.
The National Assembly, the country’s lawmaking body, voted on Tuesday to remove Long, 55, from the position of health minister, which he assumed in 2020, Voice of Vietnam Radio reported.
The Communist Party of Vietnam on Monday also decided to expel Long, according to a government news release.
The government said Long has “degraded in political ideology, violated the party’s regulations and caused losses to the state budget”.
The Ministry of Health has assigned its deputy minister Do Xuan Tuyen as the acting minister, official Vietnam News Agency cited the ministry as saying.
On the same day, Hanoi Chairman Chu Ngoc Anh was arrested for mismanagement involving a Covid-19 test kit fraud, hours after he was dismissed from his position.
Anh was expelled from the Communist Party on Monday.