Vietnam rejects ex-politburo member’s graft appeal

16-May-2018 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A Vietnamese court Monday rejected an appeal by a former politburo member Monday who is serving a 13-year corruption sentence for overseeing a loss-making investment as head of the country’s largest oil firm.

Dinh La Thang’s graft conviction earlier this year stunned a public unused to seeing high-flying officials punished for misdeeds in the communist nation that is notorious for corruption.

A hardline administration has waged an aggressive campaign to weed out corruption and polish its imagethough critics say the purge is also driven by political infighting.

Thang was the most senior official convicted for years and last week was stripped of his party membership, the first expulsion of a politburo member in more than two decades.

The former head of PetroVietnam was convicted along with 21 others of causing $5.2 million in losses to the state over an investment into a thermal power plant.

Thang’s lawyer said Monday his appeal had been rejected.

“Our opinion is that (the verdict) was not right… other people are guilty of wrongdoing, Thang only admitted to acting irresponsibly,” Dao Huu Dang told AFP.

Thang was convicted for a second time in March in a separate corruption trial for approving a $35 million investment of state funds in Ocean Bank without the authorisation of PetroVietnam’s board, the finance ministry or the prime minister.

He was given another 18 years and ordered to pay $26 million in compensation to the state on those charges.

Vietnam’s communist party chief, 74-year-old Nguyen Phu Trong, vowed Sunday to forge ahead with the anti-graft sweep.

“There remains much to be done so we won’t quit halfway, we will do it drastically and do it until the end,” he told voters in Hanoi.

Dozens of bankers, businesspeople, security officials and former officials have been swept up in the crackdown, which echoes China’s anti-corruption campaign.

Transparency International ranks Vietnam 107 out of 180 on its Corruption Perceptions Index, behind Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.


Category: Society

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