Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said on Friday its investigative police agency had launched criminal proceedings against two former deputy ministers for “lack of responsibility” in a case linked to jailed Da Nang business tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu.
Tran Viet Tan and Bui Van Thanh were prosecuted and banned from leaving their places of residence for “lack of responsibility that led to serious consequences” under Article 285 of the Penal Code, the ministry said in a statement.
Tan, 63, was Deputy Minister of Public Security from 2011 to 2016, while Thanh, 60, served in the position between 2014 and 2018. Their wrongdoings were discovered during an expanded probe into the case of “abusing positions and powers while performing duties” involving Phan Van Anh Vu and accomplices.
Vu, a.k.a. Vu ‘nhom’, is a business tycoon known for owning different companies and multiple pieces of ‘prime real estate’ in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang.
He was on July 30 sentenced to nine years in prison for “deliberately disclosing state secrets” by a court in Hanoi. Vu’s prison term was reduced to eight years by a People’s High Court in Hanoi on October 31.
Vu was also charged for “abuse of positions and powers while on duty,” “tax evasion” and “violating regulations on the management and use of state assets, causing losses and wastefulness.”
A number of people have faced charges for their alleged links to Vu, including former deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen Huu Tin.
In August this year, Thanh was dismissed from his post as Deputy Minister of Public Security for his serious violations and shortcomings in the workplace.
Tan was also stripped of his title as deputy minister in the 2011-2016 term for the same reason, according to a decision signed the same month by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Tan and Thanh had been found by the Party’s Central Inspection Committee to have signed a number of documents that violated regulations on protecting state secrets.
Thanh also requested the issuance of a diplomatic passport for Vu, who was not qualified to carry the travel document.
Vietnam is intensifying its drive to eliminate graft at all levels, with many top officials having gone to prison in recent times.