Former high-ranking officials of Vietnam’s state-owned fuel giant PetroVietnam have been indicted for corruption as police November 5 completed their probes of the firm’s two graft cases.
Nguyen Quang Thuong, former PetroVietnam deputy chief executive, and Duong Quoc Ha, ex-deputy executive director of Vietsovpetro joint-venture between PetroVietnam and a Russian partner, were charged with embezzling $US400,000 and US$535,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, Tran Quang, a former senior official of PetroVietnam’s Technology Service Co (PTSC), has been charged of embezzling up to US$1.79 million, while Cao Duy Chinh, former director of a PTSC affiliate, was accused of misappropriating around US$30,000.
Earlier police had accused Quang of skimming off US$2.3 million, but they decided to reduce the charges after studying his appeal.
All these officials were involved in corruption involving construction of a $17 million living quarters block at a PetroVietnam offshore drilling rig at the White Tiger oil field.
Thuong, in his former capacity of PTSC CEO, signed a deal with Coranll Ukraina Institute, a Russian oil & gas facility constructor, to carry out the project. Police then discovered that the contract was completely bogus and that the living quarters block was actually built by Interpet Vung Tau, a private Vietnamese company in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Tran Ngoc Giao, Interpet director, was accused of misappropriating US$70,000 from the construction funds. Nguyen Lai Phong, representative of Coranll in Vietnam, who also had a hand in the case, was indicted of embezzling US$80,000.
The offenders, particularly Tran Quang, were also implicated in another scandal, the US$2.97 million upgrade of the ballast system of another PetroVietnam offshore drilling facility, according to police.
So far, questions about the responsibility of certain PetroVietnam and Vietsovpetro leaders in the cases have been raised as to how they were able to approve project bids and results even though there were clear signs of wrongdoing.
However, police said that there was no convincing legal evidence to prosecute such officials.