State shipping company Vinalines has sold an abandoned floating dock that cost it VND500 billion (US$22 million) for a much smaller sum of VND38.5 billion ($1.69 million), news website Bnews reported on Saturday.
The 83M, which was sold at an auction with only three bidders, is linked to a corruption case that rocked the country in 2012 and ended with 10 Vinalines executives and customs officers being sentenced either to death or imprisonment.
An individual bidder reportedly won the auction with the offer, which was not much higher than the minimum reserve price of VND34.8 billion.
Vinalines put the made-in-Japan dock up for sale after failing to find investors to jointly operate it.
In 2008, the state-owned shipper bought the dock from Russian company Nakhodka through a Singaporean brokerage firm called AP. It paid nearly four times the expected price of $2.3 million for the heavily damaged dock, which had been in use for several decades in Russia before being brought to Vietnam.
The company then spent $10.5 million repairing it, but work was suspended in 2012.
Even as the dock was left idle, extra costs including insurance and port fees kept mounting. The book value was estimated at more than VND500 billion.
The purchase of 83M was approved by then chairman Duong Chi Dung, who, together with general director Mai Van Phuc, were found guilty of receiving VND10 billion ($442,000) each in kickbacks for the deal.
They were both sentenced to death after a long trial in 2013. Eight others were jailed for up to 22 years.