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Son of beleaguered former minister resigns from board of Vietnam’s Sabeco

Monday, December 26, 2016, 14:55 GMT+7

The son of former Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang has asked to resign from his position as a member of the board of directors at Sabeco, the country’s leading brewer, the ministry confirmed on Sunday.

In a statement on its website, the ministry, which manages Sabeco, said it was considering the resignation letter that Vu Quang Hai submitted on December 21, and would soon give its conclusion on the issue to the Sabeco board and shareholders.

The ministry also nominated Nguyen Thanh Nam, Sebeco’s deputy CEO, to replace Hai on the board of directors.

Stepping down after father was criticized

Hai, born in 1986, was appointed deputy general director and member of the board of directors at Sabeco, pursuant to a decision signed by his father in early 2015, when he was only 28 years old.

He told local media in June that his appointment was “in line with procedure” and there was no such thing as a “father favoring his son.”

Despite such an assertion, Hai eventually decided to leave the board, a decision that came in the wake of a disciplinary action taken against his father, who retired from politics in April, last month.

In early November, Hoang was dismissed from his past Party post, which seemed to be a matter of formality given his retirement, by the Party Central Committee Office for numerous in-office missteps.

img-0038-1465833035.jpgVu Huy Hoang

During his ministership, Hoang was also member of the Party Central Committee and secretary of the Party’s Steering Commission at the trade ministry. “As the commission’s secretary, Hoang showed signs of favoring personal interests in the promotion of his own son, which was deplorable for the head of the body,” the Party Central Committee Office concluded.

The disciplinary action came after Vietnam’s Central Inspection Committee found Hoang to be responsible for the wrongful promotion of his son to several senior posts in state-owned enterprises, as well as the promotion of Trinh Xuan Thanh, the man responsible for millions of dollars in losses, to senior positions at the trade ministry.

Thanh is now internationally wanted after fleeing Vietnam amid investigations into his gross mishandling.

On December 23, the National Assembly general secretary, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, said that in a resolution issued last month, the legislature also “publicly admonished Vu Huy Hoang in front of the National Assembly and voters countrywide for his wrongdoings in personnel appointment during his ministership.”

Nepotism scandal

The alleged nepotism in the appointment of Hai was first brought up by the Vietnam Association of Financial Investors (VAFI) in June.

In a letter released on its website, the VAFI questioned the logic behind Hoang’s appointment of his son to such an important post at Sabeco when he was only 28 years old.

d27a15d8.jpgVu Quang Hai

According to the VAFI letter, in the two years when Hai was in charge of Sabeco, the corporation suffered two consecutive years of losses, VND155 billion (US$6.92 million) in 2011 and VND67 billion ($3 million) in 2012.

The letter also reminded the public of the 2011 promotion of Hai as the general director at Petrovietnam Finance Investment JSC (PVFI), which is also managed by the trade ministry.

Hai was 25 when he took the post at PVFI, and later sent the company to losses. Despite that, he was re-appointed to the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency, which was under the management of his father’s ministry, climbing quickly to high positions.

The letter questioned the legal grounds of naming Hai Sabeco’s deputy general director while he had virtually no experience in or knowledge of policymaking.

The letter was addressed to Hoang and his then-deputy Ho Thi Kim Thoa, who was a signatory in Hai’s promotion.

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