Vietnam continues corruption fight with charges pressed against top military officers

By Hoang Thuy   April 28, 2018 | 04:49 pm PT
Vietnam continues corruption fight with charges pressed against top military officers
Air force personnel march during a military parade at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters
Two colonels are under probe for power abuse and negligence of duty.

Vietnam's Ministry of National Defense announced on Friday that military authorities have launched criminal investigation into two high-rank officers involved in violations at a company under the ministry.

Colonel Bui Van Tiep, former commander of the Air and Air Defense Force's 367 Division, has been placed under house arrest and investigated for "abuse of power while performing official duties."

Authorities have also pressed charges against Colonel Phung Danh Tham, general director of the defense ministry's Thai Son Group, for "negligence of duty resulting in serious consequences," the ministry said.

Specific information regarding the violations has not been revealed. But a senior officer from the ministry said in March that "This is an economic case," and the ministry will provide further information when investigation concludes.

The criminal charges pressed against the two colonels came as part of investigation into violations committed by Thai Son's former deputy general director Dinh Ngoc He.

He, who is also the board chairman of the group's subsidiary Thai Son Development Investment Company, was arrested by the defense ministry's criminal investigation agency last December for "abuse of power while performing official duties," according to the Military News Agency.

He is also facing forgery charges as investigation found he used a fake university degree in his official profile.

Further investigation into He had led to the arrests of Tran Van Lam, general executive director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Thai Son Development Investment Company and Tran Xuan Son, director of the company's branch in the neighboring Binh Duong Province, the ministry said.

Both Lam and Son were recruited by He and have been charged with "abuse of power while performing official duties" as his accomplices.

The defense ministry's announcement on Thai Son's investigation came just a day after Nguyen Phu Trong, the Communist Party General Secretary and leader of Vietnam's anti-corruption campaign, named the case as one of major incidents that the Party and the government are "determined" to pursuit and bring to court in the near future.

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