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Vietnamese ex-Politburo member faces indictment for violations at state-run bio-fuel firm

Monday, February 17, 2020, 11:40 GMT+7
Vietnamese ex-Politburo member faces indictment for violations at state-run bio-fuel firm
Dinh La Thang, former chairman of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), stands trial at a Hanoi court in April 2018. Photo: Giang Long / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has proposed that Dinh La Thang, a former member of the Party’s Politburo and ex-chairman at state-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PVN), be indicted for violations at a PVN bio-fuel subsidiary.

The ministry’s Security Investigation Agency has concluded its probe into the serious errors at the Petrochemical and Bio-Fuel JSC (PVB).

Nine other suspects are also expected to be indicted along with Thang in this case.

According to the result of the investigation, Thang signed a decision in 2007 approving an ethanol factory project in the northern province of Phu Tho.

PVB later carried out the bidding process for the design, procurement, supply of equipment, and construction of the Ethanol Phu Tho factory.

A total of six contractors applied for the bidding, including a joint venture of PVC/Alfta Laval/Delta-T, with the investigation revealing that all of them were unqualified.

A bird eye’s view of the Ethanol Phu Tho project in the northern province of Phu Tho, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre
A bird eye’s view of the Ethanol Phu Tho project in the northern province of Phu Tho, Vietnam. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Despite knowing this, Thang gave multiple directive orders that PVC/Alfta Laval/Delta-T be made a contractor, while his subordinates eventually signed deals with the joint venture for the implementation of the project.

During the implementation, the project was forced to suspend in March 2013 due to the joint venture’s poor capability, resulting in a state budget loss of over VND540 billion (US$23.4 million).

Thang is already serving two jail terms totaling 31 years on charges of acting against state regulations in separate cases linked to wrongdoings at PVN, where he was chairman between 2005 and 2008.

In April 2018, a Hanoi court handed him an 18-year imprisonment sentence for acting against state regulations on economic management in PVN’s loss of VND800 billion ($35.2 million) worth of investment into local lender OceanBank.

Earlier, in January 2018, Thang was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his involvement in financial misconduct at PVN that resulted in separate losses of VND119 billion ($5.24 million).

He was previously a member of the Politburo, the all-powerful body of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and the Party chief of Ho Chi Minh City from 2016 until 2017.

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