Vinashin executives on second day of trial

The Hai Phong City People’s Court on Wednesday continued questioning leaders of Vinashin Company, the state-owned ship building group, for violations that have resulted in serious consequences.

Pham Thanh Binh (C, front row), former chairman of Vinashin along with accomplices in court (Photo: SGGP)

Questioning was focused on wrongdoings in the purchase of the Bach Dang Giang ship and misappropriation of investment funds in construction of the Song Hong thermal power plant.

The Song Hong thermal power plan project had caused losses of over VND316.5 billion to the State.

Specifically, the Hoang Anh Ship Building Company, a subsidiary of Vinashin and investor of the plant project, had falsified documents of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the former Ministry of Trade to import three old generators from South Korea.

These generators were found filled with oil that contained PCB, a toxic substance which needs approval by authorised organisations before importing.

In March 2007, Pham Thanh Binh, former chairman of Vinashin approved construction of the 185MW Song Hong thermal power plant in My Loc District of Nam Dinh Province.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade then accessed documents for the project and concluded that there was no legal basis to approve the project, and that devices and technology for construction of the plant was out of date.

As a result, the ministry on June 15 of the same year sent a dispatch to the provincial People’s Committee, asking them to suspend implementation of the project.

In court, Pham Thanh Binh and the others accused admitted to wrongdoings but refused to admit they had deliberately committed them.
The court also questioned Tran Quang Vu, former director-general of Vinashin for deliberately violating State regulations on management of funds in the sale of the Bach Dang Giang vessel, causing losses of over VND27.3 billion.

According to the indictment, Vinashin’s affiliate Nam Trieu Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, of which Vu was also director-general, bought the MV Rayna Vessel from Cambodia in 2001 for US$1.22 million for sale as scrap iron.

However, the company then found the vessel to be still in good condition and proposed to the Government to repair it and put into service. The vessel was renamed Bach Dang Giang.

After repairs, the vessel was still unable to operate. By March 7, 2006, Tran Quang Vu asked Vinashin to change the ship into a four star hotel to serve tourists in Quang Ninh Province.

This hotel project was approved for VND144.7 billion but ran into failure afterwards as expense kept mounting.

Finally, the Nam Trieu Company decided to sell the vessel for VND149 billion but no one agreed to pay higher than VND75 billion.

Tran Quang Vu then instructed removal of components of Bach Dang Giang, and sell off the skeleton of the ship to the Hoang Thanh Company for VND66 billion.

Vu said that he took this action to save the company from financial difficulties.

The court is expected to be in session for four days from March 27-30.

By Nguyen Quoc - Translated by Hai Mien

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