Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh may be implicated in the corruption case of AIC International Progressive Joint Stock Company, whose chairwoman Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan is hiding. This case was particularly targeted by Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Intelligence Online newswire reported the above information on August 30.
Again, on August 18, the Investigation Agency under the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam announced a new development of the case was the issuance of a decision to probe the case “violating regulations on bidding, causing serious consequences” happened at AIC International Progress Joint Stock Company and Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Children’s Hospital in 2012. At that time, Mr. Pham Minh Chinh was the secretary of the Quang Ninh Provincial Party Committee.
AIC chairwoman Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan was probed in another case in April. This woman escaped from the country and was discovered hiding in Europe. Nhan herself used to be an intermediary for arms sales between Vietnam and Western defense groups, including purchasing a military satellite from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in 2018. And in the coming days, a senior Vietnamese official is expected to visit Tel Aviv to negotiate new military contracts between Hanoi and IAI.
In the newly probed case on August 18, the initial investigation showed that the Quang Ninh Provincial People’s Committee approved the investment project to purchase equipment for Quang Ninh Obstetrics and Children’s Hospital, with a total cost of more than VND238 billion ($10 million). The project is invested by the Department of Health of Quang Ninh Province. Officials of the Department of Health assigned to this project colluded with the appraisal consulting unit to issue an appraisal certificate at a price higher than the market price and hook up with contractors and AIC as well as companies with relationships with AIC. Their acts helped AIC and Mopha Company win all bidding packages worth VND232 billion, causing damage of VND73 billion to the state budget.
Incumbent PM Pham Minh Chinh was the secretary of the Quang Ninh Provincial Party Committee from 2011 to 2015. The source of Intelligence Online said the close relationship between him and Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan led to many contracts for AIC being signed with Quang Ninh province.
An ongoing investigation may reveal wrongdoings in this relationship.