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Jailed PVN chairman found to appoint incompetent contractor for ethanol plant
Tuesday,  1/29/2019, 18:13 

Jailed PVN chairman found to appoint incompetent contractor for ethanol plant

The Saigon Times Daily

Dinh La Thang (front), former board chairman of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN), stands trial at a Hanoi court in 2018 – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Dinh La Thang, 59, board chairman of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PVN) between 2006 and 2011, was found to have appointed an incompetent contractor to take charge of an ethanol plant in the northern province of Phu Tho, a source from the Ministry of Public Security told Tuoi Tre Online newspaper.

Investigators found that Thang had signed a resolution on in-principle approval of the Phu Tho ethanol plant project in 2007.

One year later, PVN set up a steering committee for the execution of bio-fuel projects. Thang led the committee, while Vu Quang and the 61-year-old Tran Thi Binh, who were deputy general directors of PVN at the time, served as his deputy heads.

Before the execution of the Phu Tho ethanol project, Petrochemical and Bio-fuel JSC (PVB), a subsidiary of PVN, conducted the preliminary selection process for contractors that would be responsible for the TK05 package, including the design, purchase and provision of materials and equipment and the construction of the ethanol plant.

The team of experts evaluated all the prequalified applications from various contractors, but they had all failed to meet the requirements. They included the consortium of contractors from PVN’s PetroVietnam Construction JSC, Sweden’s Alfa Laval and the United States-based Delta-T Group.

However, Thang appointed the consortium to take charge of the TK05 package.

PVB again evaluated the application of the consortium and informed PVN of the unsatisfactory result.

Having ignored the warnings of PVN, Thang and his two deputy general directors awarded a no-bid contract to the consortium.

In 2009, PVB issued a decision on the appointment of the contractor for the Phu Tho ethanol plant and signed an engineering-procurement-construction contract worth US$60 million with the consortium.

Several cows graze on grass at the deserted Phu Tho ethanol plant– PHOTO: THANH NIEN NEWSPAPER

Due to the incompetence and inexperience of the consortium, the project has been suspended since March 2013.

Before the launch of the probe, PVB had spent roughly VND1.5 trillion on the project, with some VND125 billion having been allocated to the incompetent contractor.

According to investigators, these individuals were accused of violating regulations on investment in construction works, leading to serious consequences, under the Penal Code.

On January 20, investigators filed charges against Thang and Binh. Binh is now under house arrest, while Nam, who is suffering from a terminal illness, will be subject to a delayed punishment.

Thang, formerly a Politburo member, Minister of Transport and Party Secretary of the HCMC People’s Committee, is serving his jail terms for the maximum of 30 years on charges of acting against State regulations based on his involvement in two other cases at PVN. He was ordered to compensate the State more than VND600 billion.

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