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Nepotism in Government a misuse of power

Update: July, 21/2016 - 11:31
The case of Trịnh Xuân Thanh, vice chairman of Hậu Giang Province People’s Committee and son of a former minister who appointed Thanh as the leader of a big corporation, continues to be questioned by the public. — Photo

Chu Lan Huong

People are asking why it has become increasingly common for leaders who are at the end of their tenures to appoint staff to leadership positions in State agencies and corporations in a non-transparent fashion.

The concern was also raised by Deputy Lê Thi Nga, head of the National Assembly Law Committee, in last week’s NA meeting.

She asked the Government to inspect the situation at State agencies such as the Government Inspection and Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

According to Nga, the inspection would easily determine who (meaning newly-appointed staff) was qualified or unqualified. The inspection was necessary to address people’s concerns, she said.

Actually, this phenomenon is not new. Two years ago, people were outraged when the former Chief of Inspector of Government, Trần Văn Truyền, appointed about 60 employees to management positions two months prior to his retirement.

Following this incident, the director of the HCM City Culture, Sports and Tourism Department offered management positions to 30 employees one month before retiring.

People sarcastically called those “racing-against-time decisions” or “pre-retirement syndrome”. At present, there is gossip that staff appointments in State and Government agencies are based on four criteria: first, descendants; second, money; third, relationships; and fourth, talent.

Recently, the case of Trịnh Xuân Thanh, vice chairman of Hậu Giang Province People’s Committee and son of a former minister who appointed Thanh as the leader of a big corporation, continues to be questioned by the public.

As public outrage over Thanh’s case mounted, a story broke earlier last month that Thanh was spotted driving a VNĐ5 billion Lexus 570 bearing a blue licence plate.

Prior to being assigned to his position in the province, he was the chairman of PetroVietnam Corporation (PVC) from 2007 to 2013. In 2012, the company reported surprise losses of VNĐ293 billion (US$14 million).

Despite the speculation surrounding Thanh’s responsibility for the losses at PVC, he continued to move up to more powerful positions.

Thanh left the oil and gas industry in 2013 and was appointed to important posts over the next three years, including a position at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and head of the Party Committee Office of the MOIT. In 2016, Thanh was elected to his current post. 

The Government Inspectorate has concluded that many of the 60 employees appointed by Truyền were unqualified. They needed to be retrained. Some of them were to move to other posts.

But Thanh’s rise to power remains unaccounted for.

Recognising the seriousness of the situation, Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng on Monday ordered further investigations into the case of Thanh for his alleged wrongdoings, which caused PVC huge losses.

Another case that became a hot topic in recent months was the appointment of Vũ Quang Hải, the former minister of Industry of Trade’s son, as a deputy head in one of the biggest beverage groups at the age of 28. Before taking his current position, he was assigned to hold many important posts in State corporations. Notably, he had no experience in business management.

Violations of former Trade and Industry Minister Vũ Huy Hòang during his office term will also be probed properly, according to the Party Chief’s instructions.

Experts said that the wrongful appointment by predecessors caused many negative consequences to the State and Government agencies’ organisations and successors, as well.

The unqualified staff appointed to management posts will cause losses to the country’s economy and harm organisations’ operations.

Nepotism is considered a misuse of power by some officials. And misuse of power is a type of corruption.

People are worried that “last minute” staff appointments made by lame duck officials have become a favourite trick among corrupted leaders. This practice has made the fight against corruption more difficult.

President of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyễn Thiện Nhân said at the opening session of the National Assembly yesterday that the practice of officials appointing their children and relatives to management positions has caused people to mistrust the State and Government.


So far, there have been no effective measures to prevent the situation. Corrupt officials are taking advantage of legal loopholes to earn dirty money. At present, the Law on Public Servants and the Law on Anti-Corruption do not explicitly forbid nepotism.– VNS



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