Vietnamese official quits election amid luxury car scandal

By Cuu Long   June 15, 2016 | 07:18 pm GMT+7
Vietnamese official quits election amid luxury car scandal

Deputy Chairman of Hau Giang People’s Committee Trinh Xuan Thanh on Wednesday said he will not seek another term in office until the investigation into his alleged misuse of an official plate on a private Lexus has been completed.

The news that Thanh would not be running for re-election to the provincial Party Committee was confirmed by Nguyen Quoc Ca, vice chairman of Hau Giang's People’s Council.

Thanh said he had voluntarily withdrawn from the race and stated that it “would not be too late to run for reelection later” after an investigation into his case was launched on June 9.

Hau Giang People’s Committee is expected to meet on June 16 to elect its leaders for the 2016-2021 tenure, including the president, vice president and members of People’s Council Standing Committee.

Holding the post of vice chairman of Hau Giang for a year, Thanh was considered a “qualified official”. He was recently elected to the National Assembly with the highest number of votes among the six candidates elected in the province.

In early June, the media reported Thanh’s alleged abuse of an official plate on his luxury car that has sparked public interest.

Thanh is in the spotlight for three reasons. First, he used a blue license plate on a private Lexus LX570 that should only be used by official vehicles according to Vietnamese law. Second, PetroVietnam Corporation where Thanh was chairman from 2007 to 2013 incurred heavy losses during that time. Third, why has he continued to move up to more powerful positions despite his track record.

vietnamese-official-quits-election-amid-luxury-car-scandal

Vice Chairman of Hau Giang People's Committee Trinh Xuan Thanh (L). Photo by VnExpress/H.Nguyen

Thanh previously made clear that he did not own the car but had borrowed it from a friend in Hanoi when he was transferred to Hau Giang. He also said the car originally bore a white plate with a Hanoi registration number.

“The blue plate was licensed by the local police after having been approved by provincial leaders of Hau Giang to help me do the job,” he said. “I am willing to return the plate if it upsets the public.”

Thanh added he would not ask for another public car as a replacement because Hau Giang is still a poor province. On June 13, Hau Giang People’s Committee admitted they had been wrong to issue the blue plate to Thanh.

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