Vietnamese police investigators have proposed that four people be charged with embezzling more than VND3.3 billion at a shipyard which is a member of the corruption laden state-owned shipping group Vinalines.
The charge is filed against Tran Hai Son, former general director of Vinalines Shipyard Company, Tran Van Quang, former director of planning at the company, Tran Ba Hung, who worked at the Hyundai Vinashin shipyard, and Pham Ba Giap, 41, director of the Nguyen An metal trading company.
According to the police, the four had colluded in inflating the cost for repairing an old floating dock which Vinalines bought from Russia in 2008 and was planned to be the core of the Vinalines Shipyard facility, which is based in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau.
The planned investment for the dock was $14.1 million, including delivery from Russia and insurance.
However, while Vinalines could buy the dock for $9 million, by March 2010 the repairing of the dock had cost the company nearly $9.5 million, according to the police.
Part of the repairing work, which cost an estimated $6.1 million, was handled by Hyundai Vinashin shipyard, the joint venture between Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industry Group and Vietnamese state shipbuilder Vinashin. Following the instructions of Son, Hai and Quang, Giap had faked two contracts to appropriate VND3.3 billion, the police said.
Police said Son himself had pocketed two third of embezzlement money.
The purchase of such old dock is also putting Son under investigations for charge of "violating economic management regulations causing serious consequences," together with Vinalines former chairman Duong Chi Dung and seven other people.
Tran Huu Chieu, deputy general director of Vinalines, who was put as chief management of the shipyard construction project, is being investigated under a different charge, police said without giving specifics.
Also involved in the case, two company directors in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and the nearby Ho Chi Minh City are being investigated by their local police for forging invoices for the repair.
Several people including police officers have also been arrested for helping former chairman Dung flee the country in May last year, while Vinalines was under probe for big losses. Dung was arrested by Interpol in September at an undisclosed Southeast Asian country.
Dung was chairman and general director of Vinalines between August 2005 and February 2012, before he was assigned to be director of Vietnam Maritime Administration.
Police have noticed poor management under his jurisdiction, when the group incurred losses of $182.3 million in 2010 and 2011, but falsely reported profits.
The group has announced losses of $117 million last year, saying it failed to see a falling market when buying additional ships over the past several years. It expected a $101 million loss by the end of this year.
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