Opinion
Corrupt officials use state-owned firm as private bank
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | August 05, 2016 09:36 AM
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The public have expressed dismay at corrupt officials that use state money to subsidise their own luxurious lifestyles, such as in the case of Hau Giang Province's former vice chairman Trinh Xuan Thanh.

Thanh's case was exposed after he used a government blue plate for his VND5.7 billion (USD255,189) Lexus LX570. Investigation revealed that before becoming the vice chairman of Hau Giang, Thanh was the chairman of PetroVietnam Construction JSC from 2007 to 2013. Under his watch, the company went from profitable to incurring losses of VND3.2 trillion (USD145m) by the end of 2013.

 

Thanh's case was exposed after he used
a government blue plate for his Lexus LX570

During this time, one of its member companies, PVC-ME chaired by Trinh Van Thao, established a huge illegal fund for the leaders to go on business trips or hold parties. Head accountant or employees at PVC-ME had withdrawn hundreds of millions of VND to serve the personal whims of the company’s leadership.

On July 7, 2011, VND205m (USD9,300) was withdrawn to "serve the boss" and another VND206m was withdrawn four days later for the same spurious reason. On July 26, VND206m was withdrawn to let PVC-ME's chairman receive and welcome guests. Hundreds of millions of VND had been spent on business trips for to receive guests and tens of millions of VND were used as bribery.

In 2011 alone, up to VND10bn (USD454,500) was spent entertaining. Even personal events like class reunions or birthdays were subsidised by VND105m from this fund. When the boss went golfing, VND350m was taken out to buy a new outfit and equipment.

It's even more shocking to discover that on August 15, 2011, the PVC-ME chairman's assistant withdrew over VND550m (USD25,000) for the birthday of Trinh Xuan Thanh's father and VND100m for Thao's guests again.

Who were the guests that feasted on those huge amount of money? In what way did hundreds of millions "serve the boss"? How is it, despite incurring huge losses, not only was Thanh not punished but promoted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and then became Hau Giang's vice chairman?

This is quite a bitter thought, but one has to wonder whether Thanh's father was able to have any joy from his birthday or he was used by his son and now his name is tarnished. His family is not known to be filthy rich and over half a billion of VND is not a small sum, not to mention that it is state money.

A new golf outfit and equipment and a birthday party cost nearly VND900m. What a luxury lifestyle! No wonder there are outrage from the public and a slow-down in country's development.

After the investigation into Thanh began, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to clarify individual responsibilities when Thanh was awarded second and first class labour medals in 2009 and 2010 as well as the title of Hero of Labour for PVC in 2011. Deputy Minister Tran Thi Ha then quickly explained that the awards were all fine and appropriate at the time.

"The awards were only for the achievements of that period," she said.

What is the deputy minister thinking now after the existence of this illegal fund has been exposed?

In the recent government meetings, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, "We have fired into the air too many times and hit no one."

Maybe this is the first target that they can test the accuracy of their aim.

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