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Provincial leader uses luxury car gifted by local bank in Vietnam's Central Highlands

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 14:51 GMT+7

A luxury car owned by the Party Committee of Dak Lak Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands was gifted by a local bank.

A Toyota Land Cruiser with license plate number 47A-001.07 currently used by Dak Lak’s Party Committee to shuttle its chief Y Phu E Ban, was a gift from the Dak Lak branch of state-owned commercial bank Agribank, the committee’s office has confirmed.

The market value of the Toyota Land Cruiser is VND3.65 billion (US$163,000) according to the Toyota Vietnam website.

The gratuity was the result of an “agreement” between the two bodies in 2016 for a “mutual purpose”, it said.

Party Committee is the leading organ of the Communist Party of Vietnam of each of the country’s provinces or cities.

Agribank, or Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, is a commercial bank fully owned by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), though a plan is currently in place to reduce the central bank’s capital ownership of Agribank to 65 percent by 2020.

According to the Office of the Dak Lak Party Committee, Agribank’s gifting of the luxury car was voluntary, and based on its available budget for social responsibility, and the province’s shortage of public cars at the time.

“The gift resulted from a discussion and agreement between the two parties,” a senior official at the Party Committee’s office said.

“Every year, Agribank puts aside funds for social programs, charity events, and investment in education in areas off the beaten track,” a leader at Agribank Dak Lak said.

“The provincial Party Office therefore suggested that we provide the province with a car to be used by provincial leaders for the same purposes.”

The office is also in possession of two other cars which are being used to shuttle two of its deputy party chiefs.

One of the cars, it said, had been passed on by a retired Party chief who had been entitled to the car as part of his multiple posts as Party chief, chairman of the Dak Lak People’s Council, and head of the provincial National Assembly delegation.

The other car used by the second Deputy Party Chief had come with him from his previous post in the central government, the office explained.

Early last month, authorities of central Da Nang City and southernmost Ca Mau Province have had to return costly cars gifted by local businesses following an order by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Both authorities had previously defended their reception of the luxury cars using similar lines of reasoning, saying the vehicles were of state ownership and were to be used for public purposes such as visiting drought-hit, flood-stricken and mountainous areas.

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