Authorities from one Vietnamese city and another province have returned costly cars gifted by local businesses, following a prime minister’s order, despite previously defending that the practice is not a legal or ethical issue.
The Party Committee of the central city of Da Nang has returned a five-seater Toyota to a local company, shortly after the administration of the southernmost province of Ca Mau handed back two luxury Lexus sedans to the gift giver.
Earlier on March 1, the Government Office said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had tasked the finance and justice ministries and the state inspectorate with looking into public concerns over the costly car gifts.
The premier also underlined that local authorities should never receive cars gifted by businesses based in their locale, according to the government’s website.
The Lexus gifted to Ca Mau administration
On Friday, the Da Nang Party Committee Office said the Toyota, used to serve Party chief Nguyen Xuan Anh and which carries a ‘lucky’ license plate ending “299.999,” had been returned to the gift giver - Minh Hung Phat Co. Ltd.
Built in 2015, the Toyota sedan costs more than VND1.3 billion (US$58,036) after tax, according to its receipt.
Earlier on March 1, the Ca Mau administration also handed the Lexus’s to Cong Ly Co., a local private company to pursue the order of the prime minister.
Both Da Nang and Ca Mau authorities have previously defended their receiving of the luxury cars, saying the vehicles were of state ownership and were to be used for public purposes only.