Lawmakers highlight public mistrust of Vinashin handling

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A recent legislative report gave voice to public dissatisfaction and suspicion regarding how the mismanagement of state-owned shipbuilding group Vinashin was handled.

This year's public corruption report, issued by the National Assembly's Judicial Committee, pointed out that the shipbuilder had been inspected and audited 11 times and was on the brink of bankruptcy.

However, the government and concerned authorities did not know about the case and "no one took responsibility," the report said.

"The public and voters were upset, thinking that there have been cover-ups of Vinashin's violations that caused huge losses to state property," it said.

According to the Judicial Committee, inspectors and auditors found many violations this year, including those at Vinashin, but only a few of those cases were transferred to the authorities for further action.

Vinashin is one of the key matters under discussion at the ongoing five-week session of the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature. By June of this year, the shipbuilder had accumulated debts totalling VND86 trillion (US$4.4 billion), leading to an investigation into the firm's dealings.

In a report released at a National Assembly meeting on Wednesday, the government said Vinashin incurred its tremendous losses as a result of the global financial crisis and mismanagement by Vinashin officials who were dishonest in their financial reporting.

The doctored fiscal disclosures made it impossible for the government to ascertain the situation on the ground or steer the company in the proper direction, the report claimed.

Talking to the press last week, Nguyen Duc Kien, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly's Economics Committee, said Vinashin is already, in essence, bankrupt although an official declaration was never issued.

"Because Vinashin is a state-owned company, it has to be dealt with differently," Kien said. "Seventy thousand jobs are at stake." 

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