Vietnam's vice minister faces dismissal amid corruption crackdown

By Reuters, VnExpress   July 31, 2017 | 11:43 pm GMT+7
Vietnam's vice minister faces dismissal amid corruption crackdown
Deputy trade minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa (L) might lose all of her positions at the ministry after the Central Inspection Committee found her responsible for the illegal appointment of Trinh Xuan Thanh (R), who the police said turned himself in on Monday after a 10-month international manhunt. Photo courtesy of Ministry of Industry and Trade

Deputy trade minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa might lose all of her positions for financial malfeasance and the illegal appointment of a wanted former official.

Vietnam's ruling Communist party said on Monday that a former executive of electricity firm Dien Quang Lamp should be sacked from her current position as a vice-trade minister as it continues a crackdown on corruption.

Deputy trade minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa might lose all of her positions at the ministry after the Central Inspection Committee found her responsible for several wrongdoings at the company and in the illegal appointment of a wanted former official.

Thoa approved the appointment of former PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corp chairman and ex-provincial leader Trinh Xuan Thanh, whom police said turned himself in on Monday after a 10-month international manhunt.

Last February, Communist Party's chief Nguyen Phu Trong ordered the Central Inspection Commission to investigate allegations that Thoa and her family held shares worth hundreds of billions of dong in Dien Quang Lamp, a state-owned firm before it was privatized in 2005.

According to media reports, last year, Thoa and her family held close to a 35 percent stake in the company, worth around VND700 billion ($30 million). Her 1.7 million shares in Dien Quang are worth VND100 billion ($4.3 million). Vietnam's average annual income was around $2,200 last year.

Shares of Dien Quang, where some of Thoa's relatives are still key stakeholders besides Canada-based Enterprise Capital Management, have fallen about 40 percent since October 2016, Reuters reported Monday.

Thoa worked at Dien Quang for 18 years during which time she served as chairwoman and CEO before being promoted to the ministry in 2010.

Authorities have repeatedly acknowledged that Vietnam’s financial disclosure laws, billed as one of the most powerful tools for tackling corruption, have remained all but toothless.