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Quang Nam investment head suspended

Released at: 17:23, 31/01/2018

Quang Nam investment head suspended

Mr. Le Phuoc Hoai Bao (Photo from plo.vn)

Nepotism charges bring down director of planning and investment department in central province.

by Quang Huy

The chief investment official in the central province of Quang Nam has been suspended after an investigation found that nepotism had led to his rise to power.

Mr. Le Phuoc Hoai Bao, Director of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment, has been removed from office pending the abolishment of his Party membership, a local official said on January 30.

Mr. Bao will then be removed from other positions he was wrongly appointed to, the official said. His post at the investment department is being temporarily filled by his deputy.

Last December, the Central Inspection Committee, the Communist Party’s top watchdog, said that Mr. Bao had been “dishonest” on his profile and application when he was nominated for membership of the provincial Communist Party unit in 2015.

The committee held Quang Nam’s provincial administration responsible for a series of wrongdoings that led to his appointment.

Mr. Bao’s father, Mr. Le Phuoc Thanh, who was the province’s leader until September 2015, was singled out for the promotion and appointment of his son.

Mr. Thanh had directed the local government to fund his son’s postgraduate studies in the US, which he later used to climb up the political ladder, the investigation found.

Both father and son had made “serious” violations that damaged the reputation of the Party, the committee said.

Mr. Bao, then 30, was installed as head of the investment department in 2015, becoming the youngest department director in any province.

The appointment grabbed national headlines and drew public scrutiny because he was considered inexperienced and his father was still the Chief of Quang Nam’s Communist Party unit. A week after his son’s appointment, Mr. Thanh stepped down on health grounds.

The public backlash compelled the Ministry of Home Affairs to step in, but no wrongdoing was identified.

Nepotism is not new to Vietnam. According to the Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, “nepotism and corruption in public sector employment have become a systemic problem.”

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in January last year called for any bureaucrats whose appointments were influenced by nepotism to be dismissed.

This month, Party leaders also announced that strict measures will be taken to prevent anyone from taking a short cut to political power.

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