Former top insurance officials jailed for economic mismanagement

By Viet Dung   September 25, 2019 | 05:14 am PT
Former top insurance officials jailed for economic mismanagement
Le Bach Hong (R) and Nguyen Huy Ban (in white), two former general directors of Vietnam Social Security, stand trial in Hanoi, September 25, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Viet Dung.
Two former general directors of Vietnam Social Security will spend six and 14 years in prison for violations causing $73.2 million losses.

A Hanoi court on Wednesday found Le Bach Hong, also a former Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, and Nguyen Huy Ban guilty of "deliberate violations of state economic management regulations, causing serious consequences."

Their violations caused losses of VND1.7 trillion ($73.2 million) for the Vietnam Social Security (VSS), the indictment said.

Hong got six years while Ban received 14 years.

Hong was Deputy Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs between 2005 and 2008.

In late 2008, he resigned to work as general director of VSS. He retired in 2014.

The Central Inspection Commission, the Communist Party's watchdog, said Hong’s violations included erroneous financial reports at the insurance agency and failure to review wrongful lending at the unit.

Investigations found VSS had lent state-owned finance leasing firm, Agribank Financial Leasing Company No 2 (ALC II), VND1.05 trillion ($45 million), including unsecured loans, while it was only allowed to lend money to state-run commercial banks.

ALC II was declared bankrupt in December 2016, after only paying VND200 billion. Its debt plus interest has now amounted to VND1.7 trillion.

The court has ordered Agribank to compensate VSS with VND870 billion ($37.5 million).

Aside from the jail terms, Ban was ordered to pay VND292 billion ($12.6 million) and Hong VND150 billion ($6.46 million) to the VSS to compensate for losses suffered.

Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, former head of VSS’s planning-finance department, was also found guilty in the case and sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was also asked to pay a compensation of VND292 billion.

Tran Tien Vy, former head of the general planning office under the department, got three years and Hoang Ha, who used to hold the same position, received seven years.

The VSS trial is part of an corruption crackdown that has seen scores of senior government officials and executives of state-owned enterprises arrested and jailed in recent years.

Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, who spearheads the corruption fight, was sworn in as Vietnam's president last year, prompting experts' speculations that he will push the campaign to a new level.

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