The government is attempting to verify allegations of a $2.2 million bribe being made by a health equipment provider.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien sent a document to Ms Claire Pierangelo, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, on November 6, seeking clarification and co-operation over a $2.2 million bribe allegedly paid to Vietnamese officials by Bio-Rad Laboratories, a scientific and clinical diagnostic equipment company.
Documents from the Mechanical and Electrical Technology and Energy Project Center under the Ministry of Health (MoH) also were sent to local departments of health around the country, asking them whether they had used any Bio-Rad products. If so, they must report on which products, the trade contracts signed, and annual product management.
A document was also sent to the Minister of Public Security seeking to verify the matter, according to local media.
The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on November 3 alleged that, from 2005 to 2010, Bio-Rad acted corruptly not only in Vietnam but also elsewhere in Asia and Europe. It is said to have made payments to officials via phony middlemen.
According to the SEC, a company sales representative in Vietnam agreed to pay the bribe when faced with the possibility of losing 80 per cent of Bio-Rad’s sales.
It is alleged that the company paid bribes of $2.9 million in Vietnam, $700,000 in Thailand, and $4.6 million in Russia to secure contracts.