Senior Party official reprimanded for exam fraud violations

By Hoang Thuy   January 10, 2020 | 05:30 pm PT
Senior Party official reprimanded for exam fraud violations
Trieu Tai Vinh, former Party Secretary of Ha Giang Province. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thang.
A former Party Secretary in the northern Ha Giang Province has been reprimanded over violations committed in the conduct of national high school exams in 2018.

The decision to punish Trieu Tai Vinh, Deputy Head of the Communist Party's Central Economic Commission and former Party Secretary of Ha Giang, was issued by the Politburo at a meeting Friday, following recommendations made by the Party Central Inspection Committee last month.

The Politburo held Vinh responsible as the then head of the provincial Party unit for letting the serious violations occur during the 2017-2018 national high school exam, when many students had their grades raised to earn entry into leading universities. The violations have resulted in several Ha Giang cadres and Party members being disciplined or criminally prosecuted, including those directly under the Party unit's charge.

Vinh's daughter was also found to be among the students with their results altered, with her total score being 5.4 higher than the actual value.

"At first, when I heard my daughter earned a very high score, I thought she will go to university this year. After learning her score was altered, I asked her about it and felt a bit sad. How her score was altered, I don’t know," Vinh had said last July.

Party inspectors found Vinh displayed a lack of responsibility in leading and directing the task of inspecting, supervising, reviewing, detecting and handling the violations. He also failed to strictly comply with regulations on the Party's leadership role over law enforcement agencies in handling organizations and individuals that committed violations.

He was indecisive, loose and failed to take timely action, the inspection found.

The former provincial Party chief also evaded responsibility after his sister was found to have committed violations in the exam fraud, failing to lead by example as required by the Party.

"The violations and shortcomings of Trieu Tai Vinh have negatively affected the reputations of the local Party unit, local government and himself," the Office of the Party Central Committee said in a statement.

The scandal

The 2018 national high school exam fraud, which covered the three northern provinces of Ha Giang, Hoa Binh and Son La, has seen numerous officials arrested or disciplined for their involvement.

Last November, five senior education officials in Ha Giang were sentenced to jail for one to eight-year terms for abusing their power for personal gains, ranging from one to eight-year jail terms. Nguyen Thanh Hoai, former head of the Testing and Quality Assurance unit under Ha Giang's Education Department, received the longest jail term of eight years.

Investigations revealed that over 200 students taking their exams in the three provinces had their results altered. Dozens of students from top universities have since been expelled or have voluntarily dropped out after their scores were corrected.

Last October, Vinh’s sister Trieu Thi Giang, deputy head of the external economic relations division of Ha Giang's Department of Planning and Investment, was reprimanded by the provincial Party Inspection Committee for pulling strings to raise the score of his daughter. The inspection committee however concluded that Vinh and his wife "did not know about this and did not know who altered their daughter's results."

Vietnam's Communist Party has four modes of punishment for misconduct by official members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion.

Vinh's wife, Pham Thi Ha, Deputy Director of Ha Giang's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was warned by the inspection committee to "thoroughly review and learn from her experience" for letting her sister-in-law meddle in the conduct of the examination.

In September 2016, information about several family members of Vinh holding senior positions in Ha Giang Province was widely shared on social media.

In response to the incident, Vinh told VnExpress that "the appointment process complies with the provisions of the Party and the state," adding that he "is not happy about the fact that my family members have been elected and appointed to be seniors."

The 51-year-old official, who belongs to the Dao ethnic minority group, is a native of Ha Giang. He was appointed Deputy Head of the Central Economic Committee last July.

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