Facing punishment, Vietnam official makes counter-accusations

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Vietnam's deputy health minister who is facing punishment for various wrongdoings has fired back by accusing his ministry's Communist Party unit of violating inspection regulations.

In his recent appeal to the standing committee of Central Agencies' Communist Party unit, Cao Minh Quang claimed that someone from the Ministry of Health Party unit's Civil Affairs Committee leaked the results of the committee's vote on his punishment, VTC News a news website of the Vietnam Television Corporation -- reported Monday.

Quang, who is facing accusations of dishonesty and damaging internal unity at the ministry to replace his subordinates, said the vote took place at a meeting on February 16 and the result was reported in many newspapers the next day, before he was officially informed of it.

The leak also occured before the Communist Party of Vietnam's Central Inspectorate made its final conclusions and was thus against Party regulations on the security of agency inspections, Quang argued.

According to the website, four of the committee's ten members voted to dismiss Quang from his position, while two wanted a "warning," two wanted "discipline" and another voted for removing him from the Party unit.

Also in his appeal, Quang asked that the inspectorate's initial conclusions be reconsidered, especially those regarding accusations that he used a false doctorate degree.

The Party's standing committee needs to learn more about the legal basis of the degree he earned at Uppsala University in Sweden in 1996, Quang said.

Meanwhile, related agencies need to "respect the objective truth" and the conclusion made by the Ministry of Education and Training on his degree some ten years ago, he said.

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In 2001, the education ministry certified Quang's degree, stating that it was equal to a doctorate in Vietnam. But last year a war veteran in Ho Chi Minh City filed accusations with the central government saying that Quang's credentials were fake.

This prompted the ministry to check the doctorate's authenticity again and it then concluded that degree was actually a pre-doctorate.

According to the VTC News report, Quang claimed that he declared his educational degree was a doctorate in accordance with the health ministry's decision assigning him to his post.

Among other accusations against Quang are those made by the HCMC-based BV Pharma Joint-venture Co.

The company 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.

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

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

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