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Party Chief calls for investigation into former minister

Released at: 17:10, 19/07/2016

Party Chief calls for investigation into former minister

Photo: Duc Anh

Former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang under fire for previously promoting a now-dismissed NA delegate.

by Nguyen Ha

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on July 18 called for a thorough investigation into the accountability of former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang in the questionable promotion of an embattled National Assembly (NA) delegate-elect who was dismissed from the legislature on July 15 for his financial wrongdoings and lavish lifestyle.

In a document released by the Office of the Party’s Central Committee, General Secretary Trong asked the Central Inspection Committee to instruct agencies concerned to ensure the investigation is “just, objective, and thorough”.

Under Mr. Hoang’s leadership between 2010 and 2015, Mr. Trinh Xuan Thanh was promoted within the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) even though the State-run PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC) he chaired from 2007 to 2013 incurred losses of around VND3.3 trillion ($144 million).

The Central Inspection Committee found Mr. Thanh guilty on July 11 of dereliction of duty and violations in economic management that resulted in the losses. The committee proposed he be strictly punished.

Mr. Thanh was elected to the NA in May as delegate for the Mekong Delta’s Hau Giang province, where he has held the position of provincial Deputy Chairman. He was dismissed on July 15 by the National Election Council, just days before the legislature convenes its first plenary session on July 20.

He had already “voluntarily” withdrawn from the re-election race for the position of Deputy Chairman after his alleged misuse of an official license plate on his private luxury car sparked public protest and prompted an investigation.

Mr. Thanh is in the spotlight for three reasons. First, he used a blue license plate on a private Lexus LX570 that should only be used by government-owned vehicles. Second, PVC, where he was Chairman from 2007 to 2013, incurred heavy losses under his leadership. Third, it is still not clear why he has continued to be promoted despite his poor track record.

General Secretary Trong ordered a probe into his promotion following the public outcry.

Mr. Hoang was appointed Minister of Industry and Trade in August 2007 and retired in April 2016. His son, Mr. Vu Quang Hai, has also been embroiled in a scandal regarding his promotion to a leadership position with the State beverage giant the Saigon Beer Alcohol-Beverage Joint Stock Corporation (Sabeco).

In early June the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) called on MoIT to dismiss Mr. Hai from his position as Deputy CEO of Sabeco due to his inexperience and the “illegality” of his appointment.

VAFI described the appointment as “illegal” because he was legally responsible for losses in his previous position. Mr. Hai was appointed as to the position in early 2015 when he was only 28 years of age.

He was previously appointed as CEO of the PetroVietnam Finance Investment JSC (PVFI) when he was only 25. “The appointment of Mr. Hai is completely illegal,” VAFI’s Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hai told VET.

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