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Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang told VietNamNet in an interview on May 30 that he appointed Duong Chi Dung, who is being hunted, as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration to save the Vietnam Shipping Lines Corporation (Vinalines).
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang.
VietNamNet: Why is Duong Chi Dung still appointed as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration despite his wrong-doings?
Minister Thang: First of all, I have to say that the appointment is degradation because the chair of Vinalines is appointed by the Prime Minister based on the suggestion of the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Home Affairs and the assessment of relevant agencies. The chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration is appointed by the Minister of Transport.
Before the Government Inspectorate released its inspection conclusion on Dung’s case, we had not known any information about the loss of Vinalines nor Dung’s wrong-doings.
I took office in August 2011 and I worked with officials of Vinalines in September. After that Vinalines CEO and officials of the Transport Ministry told me about the prolonged disunity in Vinalines. That was why the Transport Ministry’s party cell was determined to withdraw Dung from the chairmanship of Vinalines.
At that time, there was no information about Dung’s mistakes and he was the Party Secretary, Chair of the Board of Members and a permanent member of the Party Committee of the centrally-governed business sector. In all reports on personnel, he was highly appreciated.
Before the Government Inspectorate released its inspection conclusion on Dung’s case, we had not received any information from this agency, from the police or any accusation of Dung’s wrong-doings.
VietNamNet: You said that at the time Dung was appointed as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, you did not know any thing about violations at Vinalines. So what was the purpose of moving Dung from Vinalines to the Vietnam Maritime Administration?
Minister Thang: Discord between the Chair and the CEO of Vinalines would prevent the development of this group, especially at the time of global economic crisis.
The separation of the Chair and the CEO of Vinalines aimed to ensure unity in this group and to speed up implementation of the sea strategy and the restructuring process at Vinalines.
VietNamNet: The public wonders that at the time Dung was appointed as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration, the government inspectorate did not finalize its investigation at Vinalines yet. Why did the Ministry of Transport not wait until the inspection finished to make the appointment?
Minister Thang: As I’ve said that the Ministry of Transport had planned to remove Dung from his post as Vinalines Chair in September 2011. The Ministry’s officials and the personnel department had to persuade him for a month until Dung agreed to move to the Vietnam Maritime Administration.
If the appointment was in my competence, I would have completed this appointment in September 2011. The procedures for appointment was too long--from October 2011 to February 2012, so the appointment was too close to the time the inspection result was released.
In addition, according to current regulations, during inspection, all inspected agencies operate normally. An official who was appointed to a new position still has to take responsibility for wrong-doings that he committed at the previous position.
VietNamNet: When you took office as the Minister of Transport, what did you know about Dung?
Minister Thang: I knew him through activities at the Party Committee of the centrally-governed business sector.
In late 2010, at the Party Congress of the centrally-governed business sector, Dung was elected as a permanent member of the party committee and selected to represent the committee at the 11th National Party Congress. This was the most official evaluation of qualification and morality of officials. I do not know clearly about him personally.
VietNamNet: According to the State Audit of Vietnam Agency’s reports from 2007 to 2010, Vinalines made profit but the Government Inspectorate said that it incurred losses?
Minister Thang: The global economic crisis began in 2008 and Vietnam was also affected. Both State-owned and private enterprises were hit, especially shipbuilding and shipping enterprises because shipping fees dropped from 60 to 90 percent.
In that situation, some shipping firms, including Vinalines asked for assistance and the Ministry of Finance allowed them to enjoy depreciation relax and exchange rate gap. Based on this policy, Vinalines reported to do business at profit, with VND943 billion in 2007, over VND1.2 trillion in 2008, VND342 billion in 2009 and VND114 billion in 2010.
I don’t understand why inspectors did not make a suitable conclusion based on the Finance Ministry’s report.
VietNamNet: Dung’s wrong-doings have been confirmed and he is being hunted. Reviewing the appointment of Dung, do you learn any experience from it?
Minister Thang: First of all, I have to confirm that the assignment of Dung was done in accordance with regulations. However, we have learnt from experience that we need to take initiative in timely providing information to the public and the media.
Once again, I confirm that the assignment procedure is entirely performed in accordance with the law. I’m ready to take responsibility for this.
VietNamNet: What do you think when some National Assembly deputies said that the assignment of Dung is ‘unusual?’
Minister Thang: That’s the right of NA deputies and I respect their opinions. The appointment of Dung is up to the regulations of the Party and the State. I do not see anything that is unusual.
VietNamNet: Do you think that the prestige of yours and the Ministry of Transport will be harmed after this case?
Minister Thang: Dung committed wrong-doings when he was the Chair of Vinalines since 2007, not as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Agency.
VietNamNet: What is your own responsibility?
Minister Thang: Is the appointment wrong? If it is wrong, the Minister will take responsibility. I’m willing to bear full responsibility if I do wrong.
The assignment process of Duong Chi Dung:
19/11/2011: The Ministry of Transport proposed the Prime Minister to withdraw Dung from the Vinalines Chairmanship to appoint him as the chief of the Vietnam Maritime Administration.
23/12/2011: The Ministry of Transport asked the Government’s Party Civil Affairs Committee to withdraw Dung from the Vinalines Chairmanship and proposed the PM to appoint Nguyen Ngoc Hue as the new Vinalines chair.
9/1/2012: The Ministry of Home Affairs submitted a petition on personnel at Vinalines.
6/2/2012: PM decided to withdraw Dung from Vinalines Chairmanship. The same day, Minister Dinh La Thang issued the assignment decision of Dung as the head of the Vietnam Maritime Administration.
16/2/2012: The Government Inspectorate met with officials of Vinalines to consider the draft inspection conclusion, including wrong-doings committed by Dung, when he was Vinalines Chair.
12/4/2012: The Government Inspectorate released the inspection conclusion at Vinalines.
18/5/2012: The Ministry of Public Security issued prosecution decision and ordered to arrest Dung. The same day, the Ministry of Transport suspended Dung’s party activities.
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