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Viettel chief picked as acting information minister
The Saigon Times Daily
Thursday,  Jul 26, 2018,12:51 (GMT+7)

Viettel chief picked as acting information minister

The Saigon Times Daily

Nguyen Manh Hung, acting leader of the Ministry of Information and Communications – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Major General Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman and general director of the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group and member of the Party Central Committee, was appointed on Wednesday, July 25 by the prime minister to serve as acting minister of information and communications.

His appointment comes after the Politburo on Monday picked Hung as new secretary of the Party Committee of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) for the 2016-2021 tenure.

Hung was born in 1962 in the northern province of Phu Tho.

Truong Minh Tuan was forced to step down as Party secretary of the MIC following charges of serious violations at the ministry during the 2011-2016 tenure.

The new acting leader of the MIC was trained as a telecommunications engineer in the former Soviet Union. He earned a master’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Sydney, Australia, and holds another master’s degree in business administration from the National Economics University in Hanoi City.

Hung rose through the ranks of Viettel before becoming the general director of the group in March 2014. He was appointed its chairman and general director on June 14 this year.

Hung can be regarded as the architect of Viettel, helping the group achieve resounding success with its strategy of introducing telecom services to rural areas.

At a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc late last month, Hung said Viettel had become one of the world’s top 15 largest telecommunications companies, with 100 million subscribers globally.

On Monday, Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang suspended Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan for violations involving the now-cancelled acquisition of private pay TV firm An Vien Group (AVG) by MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation. It is the first time in many years that an active minister in Vietnam has been suspended.

Numerous irregularities had been found in the process of MobiFone, a business under the MIC, acquiring a 95% stake in AVG. MobiFone, one of Vietnam’s three main mobile carriers, had spent VND8,889.8 billion (some US$390 million) buying 344.66 million AVG shares in late 2015.

Following a probe into the deal, the Government Inspectorate concluded that AVG was incurring losses following its acquisition by MobiFone. The irregularities and the irresponsibility of MobiFone might have caused the State a loss of some VND7 trillion, including AVG’s liabilities of VND1.13 trillion.

The acquisition of AVG led to MobiFone’s poor performance from 2016 onward, with profits that year falling by VND321.7 billion against the previous year. Late last year, MobiFone’s accumulated losses had amounted to more than VND1.98 trillion, which also affected its plan to go public.

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