Vietnam suspends Party official promoted by powerful father

By Dac Thanh   January 30, 2018 | 12:44 am PT
Vietnam suspends Party official promoted by powerful father
Le Phuoc Hoai Bao has been suspended from his post of top investment official of Quang Nam Province. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
The father stepped down as Quang Nam’s Party chief a week after naming his son its top investment official.

The chief investment official in Vietnam's central province of Quang Nam Province has been suspended after an investigation found that nepotism had led to his rise to power.

Le Phuoc Hoai Bao, director of the province’s Planning and Investment Department, has been removed from office pending the abolishment of his Party membership, a local official said on Tuesday.

Bao will then be removed from the other positions he was wrongly appointed to, the official said.

His post at the investment department is being filled temporarily by his deputy.

Last December, the Central Inspection Committee, the Communist Party's top watchdog, said that Bao had been “dishonest” on his profile and application when he was nominated for membership of the provincial Communist Party unit in 2015.

The committee held Quang Nam’s provincial administration responsible for a series of wrongdoings that led to his appointment.

Bao’s father, Le Phuoc Thanh, who was the province’s top leader until September 2015, was singled out for the promotion and appointment of his son.

Thanh had sanctioned the local government to fund his son's postgraduate degree in the U.S., which was later used to help him climb the political ladder, the investigation found.

Both father and son had made “serious” violations that damaged the reputation of the Party, the committee said.

It is not clear what will become of the father, who is now retired.

Bao, then 30, was installed as head of the investment department in 2015, becoming the youngest department director in any Vietnamese province.

The appointment grabbed national headlines and drew public scrutiny because he was considered inexperienced and his father was still the chief of Quang Nam’s Communist Party unit.

A week after his son’s appointment, Thanh stepped down on health grounds.

The public backlash compelled the Ministry of Home Affairs to step in, but no wrongdoing was uncovered on that occasion.

Nepotism is not new to Vietnam. According to the Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, “nepotism and corruption in public sector employment have become a systemic problem.”

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in January last year called for any bureaucrats whose appointments were influenced by nepotism to be dismissed.

This month, Party leaders also announced that strict measures will be taken to prevent anyone from taking a short cut to political power.

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