Shipping group executives violated rules

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The Ministry of Public Security has concluded investigations into financial mismanagement at state-owned shipbuilding corporation Vinashin and sought charges against eleven officials, including the former chairman and general director.

The officials are deemed responsible for inflicting losses of more than VND900 billion (US$43 million) on the state budget.

Investigators have proposed to the Supreme People's Procuracy, Vietnam's main prosecution agency, that charges be pressed against eleven Vinashin officials two of whom are still at large for "deliberately acting against State regulations on economic management."

Pham Thanh Binh, former board chairman, and Tran Quang Vu, former general director, are among the nine officials. The others are former officials of Vinashin's subsidiaries.

Police have issued international search warrants against two Vinashin officials who had fled the country Ho Ngoc Tung, 53, former director of Vinashin Finance Company, and Giang Kim Dat, 33, former business manager of Vinashin Ocean Shipping Company.

The eleven officials are accused of buying three used vessels without government approval and importing old technologies for two power plants.

According to investigators, Binh ordered the purchase of high-speed seagoing vessel Hoa Sen (Lotus) Ship at the cost of $87.8 million, but the used Italian-made ship only operated 39 north-south trips, causing losses of VND469 billion.

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Binh is also accused of hastily approving the construction of the Song Hong Thermal Power Plant project, which was later suspended for importing out-of-date technologies, causing losses of VND313 billion.

Binh and his subordinates also caused losses of VND123 billion with the Cai Lan Diesel Thermal Power Plant, the Bach Dang Giang and Binh Dinh Star ships.

The Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, or Vinashin, which nearly went bankrupt last year with debts of $4.5 billion, is currently being restructured to focus on core competency areas.

Recently, the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) a leading shipping firm officially sought government approval to sell some ships belonging to the fleet transferred from Vinashin, to make up for losses of more than VND660 billion.

Vinalines wanted to sell the Hoa Sen, Lash Song Giang and Vinashin Atlantic ships to minimize maintenance costs.

According to Vinalines, some of the ships transferred from Vinashin to Vinalines cannot operate properly because they are in rundown condition due to a lack of maintenance and out-of-date designs.

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