Cinema department's leaders resign in $2 mil-loss

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The deputy chief of Vietnam's Department of Cinematography have resigned in response to accusations that they lacked responsibility leading to the department's loss of VND42 billion (US$2 million), an official has said.

However, To Van Dong, chief of the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism's office, said the ministry was yet to approve the letter submitted by Le Ngoc Minh, because the case is still under investigation.

The ministry last week started investigating the case and the possible capability of concerned parties, Dong said, adding that police haven't officially announced the losses yet.

Previously Dong was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre that initial information showed that the issue wasn't corruption, but fraud.

Also Monday, Tuoi Tre quoted deputy minister Huynh Vinh Ai as saying that Lai Van Sinh, chief of the department, has resigned as well.

Sinh had planned to resign long before but only submitted the letter recently, stating various reasons, according to Ai.

Sinh and Minh made the move after many artists, directors and screenwriters last month sent a letter to the government, claiming accountant Pham Thanh Hai had been pocketing money from the department's budget since 2009.

In the letter, the artists also requested Sinh, who held the department's bank account, to either resign or be fired, because the case has affected the film industry's reputation and delayed many projects.

Since the case was reported in local media on June 3, Hai is still at large.

In the meantime, Ai has been appointed to organize the 17th Vietnam Film Festival this December in place of Sinh and Minh.

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