Minister admits he was "hasty' in appointing fugitive to head agency

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Transport Minister Dinh La Thang Thursday admitted that it was "hasty" of him to appoint an executive currently wanted by police for financial mismanagement as the head of a government agency.

The announcement, made during a National Assembly meeting in Hanoi, came just two weeks after transport officials insisted that they did everything right with the appointment.

Duong Chi Dung, former chairman of troubled state shipper Vinalines, became director of the Vietnam Maritime Administration in February. He has been sought by local police since last month for violations at the shipping company that could earn him up to 20 years in prison.

Officials at the Transport Ministry previously said they had not been informed of any violation that Dung may have committed when screening him for the position. They even said the police investigation into Vinalines was conducted "secretly".

Thang himself, in an interview with news website VnExpress, defended the decision, saying it was a necessary move in order to "save" Vinalines.

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But now the minister said even though his ministry did not break any rules, the appointment was not a good call.

"I take responsibility for not being thorough in assessing and supervising my staff, and for being hasty and not carefully reviewing the appointment," he told legislators Thursday.

Thang said if the ministry had done a better job, Dung's violations could have been discovered as early as 2007.

Public Security Minister Tran Dai Quang said Thursday that police are trying their best to look for Dung who is currently on the run.

Responding to questions on whether Dung had been tipped about the impending arrest, Quang said his ministry has ordered a review of the process.

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