Authorities accused of covering up corruption in central Vietnam

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The central province of Quang Nam's anti-corruption commission pledged to look into allegations made by a whistleblower that local authorities covered up a health official's violations.

Phan Viet Cuong, head of the provincial Party unit's Interior Commission, said in Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper on Wednesday that they will clarify if authorities treated Nguyen Duc Dao, former head of Ha Lam Town's health center, leniently.

Duong Thi Thu Thuy, a midwife, had accused him of embezzlement and other wrongdoings.

The commission will "strictly" punish any official who covered up Dao's alleged transgressions, Cuong was quoted as saying.

At a ceremony held on Tuesday, Thuy, 34, refused an award that Thang Binh District's health center, which manages the center in Ha Lam Town, gave to her for having exposed Dao's corruption. 

Thuy said she did not need any award, because she did what she did for the sake of the truth and the health sector's wholesomeness.

She also said she was upset that the case was not handled appropriately, as local authorities covered up Dao's violations, conspiring with him in an effort to dismiss her and minimize his punishment.

On June 11, Thuy, who has worked at Ha Lam Town's health center since the end of 2011, filed complaints with different agencies, claiming that Dao embezzled more than VND150 million from the center's budget.

She also accused him of holding classes to train 147 local food producers and businesses on food safety and hygiene practices without having received permission to do so.

According to Thuy, Dao forged the signature of Mai Van Muoi, the director of Thang Binh District's Health Center, in order to grant them certificates after charging them VND100,000 each for the class.

On August 6, inspectors with the district's health center concluded that Dao had misappropriated VND92 million from the budget.

Dao was sacked from his position and moved to another agency, which Thuy said did not constitute an appropriate punishment. Moreover, he was yet to compensate the Ha Lam health center for the losses to its budget which he was responsible for, she added.

According to Thuy, a few days after she filed her latest series of complaints, Dao wrote a letter to Thang Binh District's health center, proposing she be transferred there, claiming that she was incompetent and a troublemaker.

She said the letter was aimed to slander her, because she had never violated rules, adding that at many meetings, Dao often insulted her, saying that she was messing up the center.

The letter was signed by six of eight people working at the town's health clinic, plus Doan Thanh Khiet, chairman of Ha Lam People's Committee, the midwife said.

She also said that previously, she had filed many complaints about Dao's violations with Ha Lam Town's People's Committee but did not receive any response. 

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