Vietnam Detains Parliament Chair’s Assistant as Builder Probed

(Bloomberg) -- Vietnam police detained the assistant to the head of the National Assembly over a probe into a builder, amid a widening anti-graft drive in the Southeast Asian nation.

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Pham Thai Ha, deputy head of National Assembly Office and assistant of the parliament chair, was held as part of an ongoing investigation into bidding violations tied to local builder Thuan An Group, according to a statement on the Ministry of Public Security’s website.

The development comes on the heels of the arrest of Thuan An Group’s chairman over an alleged bribery case. Two other company executives and three officials of the northern province of Bac Giang have also been detained. Police also asked the provincial government to provide documents related to Thuan An Group’s bidding deals in the central province of Dak Lak, according to the local media.

The case is but one of the many registered as part of a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign unleashed by the nation’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong. Earlier this month, a local court sentenced a property tycoon to death over corruption and only in March, the nation’s president stepped down — the second to do so in little more a year — over unspecified violations.

Last year, the National Assembly dismissed two deputy prime ministers after their assistants were arrested during investigations into irregularities linked to a manufacturer of Covid-19 test kits and repatriation flights for Vietnamese during the pandemic.

Thuan An Group, formerly known as Thuan An Construction and Trading Development JSC. was founded in 2004 with its main business in construction of transport infrastructure. The company’s registered capital stood at 800 billion dong ($31.4 million) in 2021, up from just 4 billion when it was formed, according to local media. It has successfully bid for at least 39 deals across the country with a total value of more than 22.6 trillion dong, according to media reports.

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