Accusations against deputy health minister being probed: party official

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Internal inspectors of the Vietnamese Communist Party is investigating recent accusations against a deputy health minister, including that he falsely claimed to have a doctorate, the chief inspector said Thursday.

Ngo Van Du, head of the Party's Central Inspectorate Committee, made the announcement one week after Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung ordered the government inspectorate to investigate accusations against Cao Minh Quang.

According to Du, the Secretariat of the Party's Central Committee ordered the simultaneous investigation, because Quang is managed by the Secretariat.

The investigation is due to be completed within the year.

In September, a Vietnam War veteran in Ho Chi Minh City asked the central government police to clarify Quang's qualifications on suspicions that he had made false statements about his qualifications.

The education ministry last month concluded that Quang's alleged doctorate degree, which was earned at a Swedish university in 1996, was actually a pre-doctorate degree.

Meanwhile, the HCMC-based BV Pharma Joint-venture Co. claimed that Quang has falsely accused the company of illegally selling Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. The substance is used to produce common flu and allergy remedies, but can also be used to make illegal methamphetamine.

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It also accused Quang of abusing power by asking the company to lend him VND1 billion (US$48,000) in 2007.

In 2009, the deputy health minister received a warning from the Party's inspectorate for several violations, including false accusations against the US-owned Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) Vietnam.

Quang had sent an English accusation letter to MSD's chief executive officer and administrative president for the Asia-Pacific region to complain about the company's unethical lobbying activities related to a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, according to the inspectorate report at that time.

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