TV firm acquisition scandal snags another former minister

By Hoang Thuy   November 27, 2018 | 05:12 am PT
TV firm acquisition scandal snags another former minister
Bui Quang Vinh, former Minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress
The $307mln-loss causing acquisition of a TV firm by state-run telecom firm MobiFone has snared another former minister in Vietnam.

Bui Quang Vinh, former Minister of Planning and Investment, has received an official rebuke from the Communist Party, which has four modes of punishment for misconduct by official members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion.

The Secretariat of Party Central Committee took the decision Tuesday at a meeting chaired by Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong.

According to the Party's Central Inspection Committee, Vinh, 65, was responsible for violations in the 95 percent stake acquisition of private TV firm Audio Visual Global JSC, better known as AVG, by MobiFone back in 2016.

The Government Inspectorate had detailed violations of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in March, saying it had failed to instruct the Ministry of Information and Communication to conduct the deal properly.

The MPI also failed to intervene promptly when the deal violated laws, the inspectorate said.

MobiFone, the country's third largest telecom firm, announced in 2016 that it was acquiring a 95 percent stake in AVG. The Government Inspectorate found that the deal, which had not been approved by the Prime Minister, had violated investment laws and caused an estimated loss of around VND7 trillion ($307 million) to the government.

In August 2016, the government ordered an across-the-board inspection into the acquisition. In May this year, MobiFone said it had been refunded in full by AVG after the deal between the companies fell through.

For their responsibility in the acquisition, former Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Bac Son was retrospectively fired from his post for the term 2011-2016 and Truong Minh Tuan, then the deputy minister, also lost his post as minister last July.

MobiFone's former general director and a deputy were arrested on November 14 on mismanagement charges.

Vinh was MPI chief from August 2011 to April 2016.

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