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NA set to relieve Truong Minh Tuan from info-comm minister post next month
The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Sep 12, 2018,17:15 (GMT+7)

NA set to relieve Truong Minh Tuan from info-comm minister post next month

The Saigon Times Daily

Acting Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung (L) is seen with Truong Minh Tuan – PHOTO: MIC

HCMC – The National Assembly (NA) will vote on the dismissal of Truong Minh Tuan from the post of Minister of Information and Communications next month for serious violations in a now-cancelled deal, in which State-run MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation had acquired a 95% stake in private pay TV firm AVG.

The NA will decide on his dismissal during the opening day of the sixth NA session on October 22. The following day, the law-making body will proceed with a vote on the appointment of Nguyen Manh Hung as new minister of Information and Communications, said NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at a meeting of the NA Standing Committee on September 11.

“After the NA vote on the appointment, a time slot should be arranged for the new minister to make his first public appearance and speak before the NA prior to his assuming office,” added the NA leader.

On July 23, State President Tran Dai Quang suspended Tuan from the post of Minister of Information and Communications. Tuan had signed a decision approving AVG’s acquisition, while serving as deputy minister at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

Major General Nguyen Manh Hung was picked as acting minister of Information and Communications on July 25. Prior to his appointment, Hung served as chairman and general director of the Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group.

Multiple irregularities had been found in the acquisition process initiated by MobiFone, a business under MIC and the country’s third-largest mobile carrier by subscription.

MobiFone had spent roughly VND8.89 trillion (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 started incurring losses after it was acquired by MobiFone. The irregularities and irresponsibility of MobiFone have cost the State some VND7 trillion, including AVG’s liabilities of VND1.13 trillion.

After the acquisition, MobiFone’s performance also started deteriorating from 2016 onwards, with profits that year falling by VND321.7 billion against the previous year. Late last year, MobiFone’s accumulated losses amounted to more than VND1.98 trillion, which also affected its plan to go public.

In a related development, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently reprimanded Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Hong Hai as a disciplinary measure for his part in the deal.

Hai was partly responsible for the violations and wrongdoing of the MIC’s Party Committee during the 2011-2016 and 2016-2021 tenures, according to the Party Central Committee’s Inspection Commission.

Hai had violated the principle of democratic centralism and working regulations and was irresponsible and lax in his leadership, management, inspection and monitoring. As a result, he allowed MobiFone to commit serious violations during the execution of the deal. He also signed several relevant documents whose contents were in violation of prevailing regulations.

Regarding the upcoming NA session, NA General Secretary Nguyen Hanh Phuc said at the September 11 meeting that the agenda of the sixth NA session will be discussed over some 23 days, from October 22 to November 20. Legislators will debate 14 draft laws, with nine possibly being subject to votes.

Phuc added that several discussions during the session will be broadcast live, including the plenary debates of reports on annual and mid-term socioeconomic development and the State budget, judicial work and question-and-answer sessions.

NA Chairwoman Ngan also said the draft Law on Special Administrative and Economic Units, also known as special economic zones, has been transferred to the Government for further study and feedback. Hence, it will not be submitted to the next NA session.

At the meeting, the NA Standing Committee passed a resolution approving the establishment of Ha Tien City in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang and of My Duc Ward in Ha Tien Town.

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