Locals allegedly asked to pay 'extra' commune officials

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Authorities in the central province of Thanh Hoa have been asked to clarify media reports that one of its communes has 500 officials and that locals have had to foot the bill to pay their salaries.

The Thanh Hoa People's Committee was supposed to report their findings to the government by July 10, Tran Anh Tuan, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, said at the ministry's periodical press conference on Friday.

Earlier several newspapers reported that Quang Vinh Commune's population is 9,500, but 500 of them are listed as officials, mainly at the hamlet level.

Many of their positions do not exist under current regulations and therefore their salaries are not accounted for in the state budget. Meanwhile, the local budget is insufficient, so people were allegedly asked to contribute to pay the "extra" officials.

According to the ministry's Department of Local Government, under regulations, each hamlet should have three officials the hamlet's chief, Party secretary and a police officer, but, in fact, over 900,000 people are working as "assistants" to the authorized officials.

EVN in the dock

Also at the meeting Tuan said that the ministry is completing procedures for punishing the state utility Electricity of Vietnam's officials with violations in various fields which led to huge losses, Vietnamnet reported.

Details about involved officials as well as potential punishments, however, have yet to be determined, as related agencies are still waiting for conclusions from the government and the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam, it quoted Tuan as saying.

Earlier, in April, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which manages EVN, announced that it had ordered involved people to review their acts, including Dao Van Hung, who was relieved from his post as EVN's chairman in February.

EVN reported a loss of VND3.5 trillion (US$166.4 million) for 2011. Many of its projects were delayed and it let power outages occur continuously between 2008 and 2009, Vietnamnet said.

The group was also found to have performed poorly in other fields outside its main scope such as real estate, telecommunications, stocks and banking. Its subsidiary EVN Telecom lost over VND1 trillion ($47.24 million) in 2010.

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