On November 11, 2022, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed Resolution No. 70/QH15 on central budget allocation in 2023. Accordingly, the Defense Ministry was allocated VND185.2 trillion ($7.7 billion). Meanwhile, the Public Security was allocated VND99.95 trillion ($4.1 billion).
With a budget of $7.7 billion that let pilots fly training with Su-22s from the 60s of the last century and have to die, it is unclear how the Defense Ministry spends the money but leave soldiers like pilots with high-cost training die due to outdated military equipments, in this case very old Su-22.
The Vietnamese army spends money to buy billions of dollars in military equipment to equip the army, but in fact the Vietnam People’s Army only owns refurbished “rubbish” heavy weapons, such as Kilo submarine that Thoibao.de has analyzed. That is the tip of the iceberg, there are still many shopping packages hidden behind waiting for Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong to open.
It can be said that the contract to buy weapons is the easiest thing for the buyers to get commission and put money to their own wallet. Because once the buyers have agreed with the sellers to raise the military equipment prices, it is very difficult for Vietnamese public to learn it. Many of the non-military contracts that Vietnam signed with foreign partners were exposed negatively from abroad, not from within. For example, the East-West Highway project in Ho Chi Minh City was previously exposed to bribes by the Japanese side. Or like the contract to print polymer money when Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung was Prime Minister, was also opened from the Australian side.
So far, only the US arms manufacturers have refused to raise selling prices as the Vietnamese buyers requested. Partly because the US law is very transparent and also strict, partly because the US arms manufacturers do not need to surrender to customers, because many buyers ask to be queued to buy, but it is not certain that they sell. So in 2017 it broke out the information that the Vietnamese military buyers asked the US side to raise the selling prices so the purchasers can take a kickback but was denied by the sellers.
That is the Ministry of Defense, what about the Ministry of Public Security? It is known that the current budget of the Ministry of Public Security is higher than the budget of the Ministry of Defense when Nguyen Tan Dung signed a contract to buy 6 Kilo submarines. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Security does not buy much military equipment. Just light weapons to fight people like armored vehicles, breakers, etc…
The Ministry of Public Security still has contracts to buy weapons with Israel like the military. For example, the bulletproof vehicle RAM 2000 MKIII. In addition, the Israeli Cellebrite Company sold mobile phone hacking tools to the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security. Verint Company has provided surveillance and intelligence systems for more than 20 years to Vietnam’s security forces.
Currently, both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security have a relationship to buy weapons from Israel, but why is the Ministry of Defense targeted and the Ministry of Public Security no one dares to touch it? The answer is, the Ministry of Public Security is now a tool of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. He cannot allow his people to investigate his side. Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense is where Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong and Mr. Pham Minh Chinh dispute influence. Mr. Trong targeted the financial lines of the Defense Ministry that are related to Mr. Pham Minh Chinh.
The Ministry of Public Security is a place of great power and money. It is so attractive that Mr. To Lam just wants to stay in the Ministry of Public Security to keep his power and keep his great economic interests. So, although the Presidential seat is empty, and Mr. To Lam has been offered many offers to sit there, he does not need it. Being in the “cocoon” and owning a source of money equivalent to $4.1 billion is much better.