Senior official sought for graft
VIETNAM has issued an arrest warrant for a scandal-hit senior official accused of mismanaging a unit of a government-run oil giant, the latest executive targeted in Hanoi’s attempt to clean up the corrupt state sector.
Trinh Xuan Thanh, one of the highest ranking officials to be sought by police in the communist nation in recent years, has not been seen in public since he left the country last month, according to state-run media.
His arrest warrant came just one day after four of his former colleagues at the PetroVietnam Construction (PVC) subsidiary were arrested for costing the firm nearly US$150 million during his time as chair.
Vietnam’s Public Security Ministry said it was seeking Mr Thanh for “intentionally violating state regulations on economic management causing serious consequences”.
He was removed as PVC chair in 2013 but has since shuffled through a number of senior government postings, including most recently as deputy head of Hau Giang province.
Mr Thanh left the country in mid-August for medical care and was stripped of his Communist Party membership last week to pave the way for a criminal investigation, according to VNExpress news site, who said his whereabouts were unknown.
Mr Thanh has been a marked man ever since he was spotted driving a pricy Lexus with a state licence plate, sparking public outrage over inappropriate use of public funds.
Vietnam has been struggling to clean up its vast and inefficient staterun sector for years, and the new communist administration in power since January has vowed to tackle corruption.
There have been a string of highprofile arrests and prosecutions of wealthy businesspeople and executives in recent years, but analysts say they are the result of political infighting rather than a genuine commitment to reform.
Transparency International ranks Vietnam 112 out of 168 on its corruption index, worse than its Southeast Asian neighbours Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar. –