Deputy PM requests corruption probe into Formosa's licensing

By Nguyen Hoai   July 2, 2016 | 01:19 pm GMT+7
Deputy PM requests corruption probe into Formosa's licensing
Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh. Photo by VnExpress.

Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh on July 1 has ordered a probe into the evaluation and approval process of Formosa Ha Tinh Steel – the culprit responsible for the mass fish deaths in central Vietnam.

Binh has asked relevant government agencies at a meeting yesterday to “examine the evaluation, approval and planning of Formosa. Any form of corruption discovered would be subject to treated according to law.”

The Deputy Prime Minister also requested to review national institutions, standards and regulations to manage polluting businesses and producers to ensure proper law enforcement. He urged all parties to draw lessons from the incident to better respond to similar future events.

The $500 million compensation agreed by Formosa must be used correctly and distributed to the right people, said Binh while urging ministries to focus on supporting affected fishermen, cleaning up the sea and installing environment monitoring equipment.

"It's costly but in return, there will be more jobs," he said.

The mass fish deaths started in April in the central province of Ha Tinh, about 400 kilometers south of Hanoi. Farmers began to find fish dead on April 6 at aquatic farms near Ha Tinh Province’s Vung Ang Port. More dead fish were subsequently found washed up on nearby beaches.

The problem quickly spread to the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue along a 200km stretch of coast. The mass fish deaths have reportedly devastated local fisheries, disrupted people’s lives and hit local tourism in the area.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel belongs to Formosa Plastics Group (Taiwan) and is expected to be completed in 2017 with total investment of nearly $1 billion. The project features a steel mill complex designed to produce 15 million tons of steel annually.

The steel factory on Thursday apologized to Vietnam and pledged to pay $500 million in compensation for one of the biggest environmental disasters to have struck the country.

Related news:

> Vietnam threatens to shut down Formosa

> How Formosa’s $500 mln compensation will be distributed

> Ha Tinh forms council to assess damage caused by Formosa