Vietnam Arrests Deputy Chairman of National Assembly in Corruption Probe

Vietnam arrests top National Assembly official in widening corruption probe into Thuan An Group, part of broader anti-graft campaign targeting high-profile figures.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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Vietnam Arrests Deputy Chairman of National Assembly in Corruption Probe

Vietnam Arrests Deputy Chairman of National Assembly in Corruption Probe

Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security arrested Pham Thai Ha, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly, on April 22, 2024, for alleged abuse of power in connection with a broader corruption investigation into the Thuan An Group. Ha, who also served as the deputy head of the NA Office and an assistant to the NA chairman, was apprehended to serve an investigation into the Thuan An Corporation, which operates in various fields including technical infrastructure investment, construction, and real estate.

The arrest is part of a wider investigation into a bribery case at Thuan An Group. The ministry had previously arrested the chairman, deputy general director, and general director of Thuan An Corporation for alleged violations related to bidding regulations and bribery. Last week, police had also arrested six people on accusations of violations of bidding laws, including the chairman and the CEO of Thuan An Group.

Why this matters: The arrest of a top-ranking official like Mr. Ha demonstrates Vietnam's determination to root out corruption, regardless of position or influence, as part of its ongoing anti-corruption efforts. The investigation's reach extends beyond Thuan An Group, with officials from the Management Board of Investment and Construction Projects for Transport and Agricultural Works in Bac Giang Province and the Project Management Board of Bac Giang Province also facing charges.

The investigation has uncovered allegations of systematic bid-rigging and bribery to secure lucrative public construction contracts. Authorities have also requested documents from the provincial government of Dak Lak related to the company's bidding deals, indicating a thorough examination of Thuan An Group's business practices.

Vietnam's ongoing anti-corruption campaign, dubbed 'Blazing Furnace', has seen hundreds of senior state officials and high-profile business executives prosecuted or forced to step down. The anti-corruption drive has had far-reaching implications, including the sentencing of a property tycoon to death for corruption and the resignation of the nation's president over unspecified violations.

The investigation into Pham Thai Ha and the Thuan An Group is ongoing to determine the full extent of the suspects' violations and recover any misappropriated state assets. "The investigators are focusing its forces on expanding the investigation, and clarifying the alleged violations of the accused and alleged violations at Thuan An Group and other related organisations," stated the Ministry of Public Security.

Key Takeaways

  • Vietnam arrested Pham Thai Ha, Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly, for alleged abuse of power.
  • The arrest is part of a wider investigation into corruption at the Thuan An Group.
  • The investigation has uncovered allegations of bid-rigging and bribery for public construction contracts.
  • Vietnam's anti-corruption campaign has led to the prosecution of senior officials and business executives.
  • The investigation into Pham Thai Ha and Thuan An Group is ongoing to recover misappropriated assets.