‘Little Baldy’ first military head to roll in Vietnam’s corruption crackdown

By Reuters, VnExpress   July 31, 2018 | 06:28 pm PT
‘Little Baldy’ first military head to roll in Vietnam’s corruption crackdown
Former colonel Dinh Ngoc He, listens during the verdict session of his trial at a military court in Hanoi, Vietnam July 31, 2018. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
A Vietnamese military court on Tuesday sentenced former colonel Dinh Ngoc He to 12 years in jail.

“Little Baldy,” as the former colonel was known, was convicted of “abusing power in the performance of official duties” and “using fake documents.”

He was also banned from taking any government position for four years after serving his jail term.

The former colonel is the first senior military official put in jail in a nationwide corruption crackdown that has intensified over the last three years. Scores of high-profile officials and business figures have been scalped, including former Ho Chi Minh City's Party leader Dinh La Thang, then a member of the Politburo, the Party's decision-making body.

The crackdown was widened earlier this year to include the military and police force.

Dinh Ngoc He abused his position as chairman of the defense ministry's Thai Son Joint Stock Company and his military status to get contracts in key national projects, the indictment said.

He also abused his position to obtain military license plates for his company cars and submitted fake university test certificates to the Party in a bid to increase his salary, it said.

His four accomplices, all former executives at Thai Son, received up to five years in prison for neglect and abuse of power.

Among them, former colonel Bui Van Tiep, former commander of an Air Force division, received a two-year suspended sentence, while former colonel Phung Danh Tham received a two-year probation.

The defendants had violated public asset management rules, seriously affecting the prestige of the military and the police, the court said.

The sentencing follows the disciplining of two deputy ministers at the Ministry of Public Security on Saturday, both of whom were stripped of their Party credentials.

On Monday, a Hanoi court sentenced real estate tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu to nine years in prison for “deliberate disclosure of state secrets.”

Two former chairmen of the central city of Da Nang have been ensnared in the same case. In April, police arrested one and placed another under house arrest.

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