Vietnamese province's chair punished for promoting unqualified son to key position

By Hoang Thuy, Dac Thanh   March 8, 2018 | 07:44 pm PT
Quang Nam Province's chairman and vice chairman have been found guilty of nepotism in a case linked to dismissed provincial Party chief.

Vietnam's prime minister has issued official warnings to two top officials in the central province of Quang Nam for "serious" violations involving staff recruitments, appointments and promotions.

The government's move against provincial chairman Dinh Van Thu and vice chairman Huynh Khanh Toan follow a similar rebuke handed down by the ruling Communist Party.

Quang Nam Provinces vice chairman Huynh Khanh Toan (L) and chairman Dinh Van Thu (R). Photo by VnExpress.

Quang Nam Province's vice chairman Huynh Khanh Toan (L) and chairman Dinh Van Thu (R). Photo by VnExpress.

In a report released in January, the Party's Central Inspection Committee found Thu partially responsible for violations committed by the province's leadership dating back to 2011. Specifically, he set a bad example by appointing his son to leadership positions and allowing his subordinates to recruit civil servants without following the approved recruitment process.

The report also found Toan partially responsible for these violations. Specifically, he signed an inaccurate report sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the appointment of Le Phuoc Hoai Bao as director of the province’s Planning and Investment Department.

Additionally, during his time as Party unit chief and head of management at the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, Toan violated the Party’s democratic centralism principles and regulations on the appointment of local officials. Specifically, he recruited civil servants without following a thorough recruitment process and recommended unqualified officials for key positions, many of whom were children of the province's top officials.

The violations first drew public scrutiny in September 2015 when Bao, then 30, was installed as head of the province’s Department of Planning and Investment. The appointment made Bao the youngest department director in the country, and raised several eyebrows due to his inexperience and the fact that his father Le Phuoc Thanh was still Quang Nam's chairman and Party unit chief at the time.

A public backlash compelled the Ministry of Home Affairs to step in, but inspectors said they could find nothing wrong with the appointments he had made.

Thanh's violations were only uncovered last year by the Central Inspection Committee, resulting in Bao being removed from office pending the abolishment of his Party membership. Thanh, despite being retired, has also been stripped of the role he held as the chief of Quang Nam Province's Party unit from 2010-2015.

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.

Last January, 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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