Vietnam fires high-ranking official over PetroVietnam scandal

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Picture Credit: VNS

Southeast Asia is not immune to corruption or abuse of power scandals, and this time is it Vietnam that acted against a high-ranking Party official.

The official, Đinh La Thăng, a Politburo member and Secretary of HCM City Party Committee, has received an official warning and been dismissed from the Politburo of the Party Central Committee for past wrongdoings as the head of a national economic corporation.

The disciplinary measures against Thăng were announced yesterday, the third working day of the 12th Party Central Committee’s fifth session.

The Central Committee reviewed a Politburo report on the punishment to be meted out to Thăng for his responsibility in causing “serious losses” as Chairman of the Việt Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) from 2006-2011.

Thăng also delivered his own opinions at the meeting.

The committee concluded that despite 35 years of working and contributing to PetroVietnam, as well as his service rendered in other posts, Thăng had still committed “very serious wrongdoings and violations in management… as a member of the 10th Central Committee of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, Party Secretary and the Chairman of the Board of PetroVietnam from 2009-2011, Vietnam News reported.

It said the wrongdoings and violations have hurt the reputation of Party organisations that he was a member of, his own individual reputation and caused a loss of confidence among the people and other Party members. These factors have influenced the decision on his punishment, the committee added.

Up to 90 per cent of the meeting’s participants voted yes on the punitive measures proposed for Thăng.

Before becoming the Minister of Transport in August 2011, he was Chairman of PetroVietnam, Deputy Party Secretary for Thừa Thiên-Huế Province (2003-2005) and Chairman of Sông Đà Corporation (2001-2003).

Last month, the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission decided to consider disciplinary action against seven former top executives of PetroVietnam.

The Commission found that the group’s Party Committee Standing Board had been negligent in advising the PetroVietnam Party Committee on a 2009 resolution that approved illegal contract packages, and a 2011 resolution on investing in OceanBank, contrary to the Law on Credit Institutions, which resulted in a loss of VNĐ900 billion (US$39.59 million), including VNĐ800 billion ($35.19 million) for OceanBank.

It found that Thăng bore prime responsibility for resolutions and wrongdoings by the Party Committee Standing Board and the Member Council of PetroVietnam in 2009-2011.

He was found to have violated regulations of the group’s Board of Directors by signing an agreement on contributing 20 per cent and more of OceanBank’s capital before getting approval for the move from the Board of Directors.

Thăng was also held responsible for the Member Council’s resolutions authorising bidding packages in violation of Government decrees and advising the Prime Minister to approve many bidding packages that failed to meet legal regulations.

He was also found responsible for violations of the Law on Bidding related to the engineering, procurement and construction contract for Dung Quất Biofuel Plant, as well as low investment efficiency in a number of projects, including the Đình Vũ Polyester manufacturing plant and several bio-energy projects.
Source: VNS

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