Police in Ho Chi Minh City have arrested the former chairman of Vietnamese retailer Saigon Co.op as part of their investigation into violations at the state-owned company.
Investigators of the municipal Department of Public Security on Wednesday arrested and initiated legal proceedings against Diep Dung for "abuse of power while on duty."
Dung was chairman and Party secretary of Saigon Co.op, the operator of the Co.opmart supermarket chain, before being transferred to the Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Finance and Investment Company (HFIC) in September.
Officers were ordered to search Diep’s house and workplace on the same day and confiscated multiple documents to assist their investigation.
Local authorities also visited the headquarters of Saigon Co.op on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in District 1 for a while, according to the observation of Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters.
According to the announcement of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee on July 30, Dung organized illegal capital mobilization and was dishonest in submitting reports.
The municipal inspectorate previously announced the results of its inspection on July 27.
In the document, Saigon Co.op’s capital consists of financial assistance from the state budget and contributions from its member cooperatives.
|The headquarters of Saigon Co.op on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Khai / Tuoi Tre|
As of late 2019, the organization’s capital formed from accumulated profit was nearly VND3.2 trillion (US$138 million). Early this year, Saigon Co.op decided to increase its charter capital to nearly VND6.8 trillion ($295 million).
However, several abnormal signs were detected in the contributions from several member cooperatives in 2020.
Linh Tay trade and service cooperative reported a loss of nearly VND49 million ($2,100), but its capital contribution was more than VND950 billion ($41.2 million).
Similarly, Do Thanh trade cooperative suffered a loss of over VND721 million ($31,200) but contributed nearly VND250 billion ($10.8 million).
Thi Nghe trade cooperative, similarly, lost about VND163 million ($7,000) but chipped in nearly VND245 billion ($10.6 million) to Saigon Co.op
The inspectorate discovered that 20 out of 26 member cooperatives had contributed to Saigon Co.op’s capital in 2020 but could not provide any proof or related documents.
Saigon Co.op has seen stable profits over the years, and its return on investment was 26-39 percent.
Inspectors believed that many individuals and organizations that are not members had secretly poured their investment capital into Saigon Co.op.