Vietnam’s former trade minister faces penalty for promoting son

By Xuan Hoa   October 24, 2016 | 06:06 am PT
Vietnam’s former trade minister faces penalty for promoting son
Vietnam's former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang. Photo by VnExpress
Vu Huy Hoang has been accused of abusing power as inspectors review the perplexing rise of his son at state-owned brewer Sabeco.

The retired industry and trade minister Vu Huy Hoang is facing punishment for making controversial appointments of his own son and another senior official who has fled the country in the middle of an investigation into $150 million of losses.

In a new statement, the Central Inspection Committee, the Communist Party’s top watchdog, has proposed that Hoang and the ministry’s Party unit receive an official warning for personnel violations between 2011 and 2016.

The committee said the ministry had violated appointment regulations by putting Trinh Xuan Thanh as chief representative of the ministry’s office in the central city of Da Nang in 2013 and then director of the ministry’s Enterprise Innovation Department. He moved on to become vice mayor of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang in 2015.

The man, now wanted on an international arrest warrant, has fled Vietnam amid allegations of mismanagement and causing losses of around VND3.2 trillion ($147 million) at PetroVietnam Construction JSC between 2011 and 2013. He was the company's board chairman during the period.

The Central Inspection Committee also said the trade ministry had breached anti-corruption and business laws when promoting Vu Quang Hai, Hoang’s 28-year-old son, to several senior positions, notably deputy CEO at state-owned beverage giant Sabeco. The brewer, famous for its Saigon beer brand, is one of the biggest public companies in Vietnam.

Hoang, who retired in April, is mainly responsible for those appointment violations, which have adversely affected the prestige of the Party and the state and caused widespread public anger, the inspection committee said.

It said Hoang promoted Thanh to senior positions even though the man did not meet the job requirements. There were also signs of abuse of power in his son's appointment, according to the committee.

It said two other senior Party officials at the ministry, Dao Van Hai and Ho Thi Kim Thoa, must also be punished for their roles in the appointments.

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

Hoang served as the industry and trade minister for two terms between 2007 and early this year.

In December 2014, Vietnam’s Communist Party also issued a warning to Tran Van Truyen, a retired ministerial-ranked anti-corruption czar, after inspectors concluded he had illegally acquired and misused state-owned properties.

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