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Vietnamese communications minister warned for role in $391mn acquisition deal

Friday, July 13, 2018, 15:24 GMT+7
Vietnamese communications minister warned for role in $391mn acquisition deal
Truong Minh Tuan, Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s powerful Politburo has issued a warning as one of the disciplinary actions against the country’s minister of communications for his role in the notorious deal between state telecoms company Mobifone and pay-per-view TV firm AVG.

The decision to issue the warning against Minister of Information and Communications (MIC) Truong Minh Tuan was made during a meeting of the Politburo, chaired by Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, in Hanoi on Thursday.

Tuan’s other punishments include being dismissed from his post as Secretary of the Party Committee of the MIC for the 2016-21 term. 

The Politburo also requested suitable disciplinary measures be imposed upon his predecessor Nguyen Bac Son, who served as minister of communications and Secretary of the MIC’s Party Committee from 2011 to 2016.

The two officials are responsible for the violations committed by the ministry’s Party Committee during the 2011-16 period, when Son was minister and Tuan was his deputy.

Tuan was also blamed for the wrongdoings of the MIC since he became minister in April 2016, the Politburo stated.

Tuan and Son were identified as having violated the principle of democratic centralism and working regulations, showing lack of responsibility and lax leadership during the implementation of the scandalous deal between Mobifone and AVG, which could have caused losses worth over VND7 trillion (US$308 million) to the state budget.

State-owned Mobifone was put under the management of the MIC in 2014.

In late 2015, Mobifone signed a confidential contract to take over 95 percent of AVG’s stakes, a deal that was valued at VND8.889 trillion ($391.1 million).

Meanwhile, AVG’s charter capital was recorded at VND3.628 trillion ($159.6 million) at the time.

A comprehensive inspection was launched into the transaction in July 2017, before Mobifone and AVG nullified their contract in March 2018.

The Ministry of Public Security took over the case in April.

On Tuesday, officers arrested Le Nam Tra, former chairman and general director of Mobifone, and Pham Dinh Trong, head of the business management division under the Ministry of Information and Communications, for their involvement in the case.

The two were previously expelled from the Party for their violations.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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