Former Chief Government Inspector Tran Van Truyen has himself come under scrutiny for his huge real estate holdings in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.
A source from the Ben Tre Party Unit announced that the provincial Inspection Commission will cooperate in the Communist Party's Central Inspection Commission audit of Truyen's assets.
Truyen served as head of the Government Inspectorate (essentially, the government's anti-corruption unit) between 2007 and 2011.
Nguyen Quoc Bao, deputy secretary of the Ben Tre Party unit, said the audit began on July 11 and is expected to last three months, during which Truyen will have to explain his assets to investigators.
Bao said the two commissions will work independently and Ben Tre will only send staff to assist the central commission whenever requested.
Financial reports show that Truyen holds hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in addition to a significant amount of property and stock.
Vietnam’s GDP per capital in 2013 was US$1,911 according to the World Bank.
Central Communist Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong ordered the investigation after local media published a string of reports about Truyen’s vast real estate portfolio and huge villas in Ben Tre and Ho Chi Minh City.
Former Chief Government Inspector Tran Van Truyen.
Nguoi Cao Tuoi newspaper reported that Truyen owned a 16,000 square meters villa and over 30,000 square meters of land in Ben Tre. The paper reported that the villa's interior is made from rare and protected sua (Dalbergia tonkinensis prain) wood; the front gate is allegedly gilded with gold.
Truyen and his family also reportedly own villas in Ho Chi Minh City’s luxurious Thao Dien Ward in District 2 and the Phu My Hung area of District 7.
Truyen has dismissed these reports as exaggerated.
During a press briefing in April, Tran Duc Luong, deputy head of the Government Inspectorate said an initial investigation into the matter found no evidence to support allegations that Truyen had attempted to conceal his assets.
However, Luong also cited faults in Truyen’s hiring practices. He noted that Truyen had handed out nearly 60 appointments during his last several months in office in 2011.
He noted that some of the appointments were unnecessary and some were given to under-qualified individuals.