State shipping company Vinalines has sought the government's permission to auction an abandoned floating dock in an attempt to reclaim some of the huge money it has poured into the controversial investment since 2008.
The proposal came after Vinalines and its shipbuilding subsidiary VNLSY failed to find investors to jointly operate the 83M dock, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Thursday.
The dock had been in use for several decades in Russia before being bought by Vinalines in 2008 for US$9 million. 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 is now estimated at more than VND500 billion ($22.1 million).
In its letter to the Ministry of Transport, Vinalines has proposed a starting price of VND34.8 billion ($1.53 million) only. The price was reportedly recommended by a local consultancy company which said the dock, left unused for the years with incomplete repair work, has affected its value sharply.
The 83M dock purchase was part of one of the most damaging corruption cases in recent years.
Vinalines bought the made-in-Japan dock from Russian-owned company Nakhodka through a Singaporean brokerage firm called AP. It paid nearly four times the offered price of $2.3 million for the heavily damaged dock.
The purchase was approved by its 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 reckless deal.
They were both given death sentences at a court in 2013, while their eight accomplices, including other Vinalines executives and customs officers, were jailed for up to 22 years.