Ministry called out for lack of action of fraud case
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | March 03, 2016 08:53 PM
 >>  Multi-level company prosecuted for fraud

Questions are being asked about what the authorities were doing when more than 60,000 people from 27 provinces nation-wide were cheated by the Lien Ket Viet Company via a multi-level marketing business scam.

The case is said to be the biggest so far in the country basing on its scale and consequences. Many high-ranking military officers were taken advantage of and a prime ministerial certificate of merit was faked. Tens of thousands of people was swindled out of over VND1.9 trillion (USD95.2 million).

Several reasons have provided explanations for the case, including the credulity of the victims, help from some bad officials, and the clever way the company's leaders organised their scam. However, they would not have been able to get as far as they did if the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Department of Competition Management had done a better job.


 A conference held by Lien Ket Viet Company.

Surprisingly, neither the Competition Management Department nor the ministry's top leaders have responded as though any of the situation is their responsibility.

Deputy minister Do Hai Thang told the media that Lien Ket Viet was given licence by the Competition Management Department in December 2014. The department then investigated the company's activities in July 2015 and issued a fine of VND 570 million after finding a number of violations in their multi-level marketing businesses.

 Deputy minister Do Hai Thang answered question from the media about the Lien Ket Viet case on February 29, 2016

"We carried out an investigation just seven months after issuing a licence to them, so you can’t say we were late in dealing with their violations," Hai told the media.

But many of the victims and the wider public are unlikely to agree with him.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association for Financial Investors argued that someone from the Ministry of Industry and Trade must take responsibility for letting this case happen.

"Why didn't the Ministry make public the company's violations and wrongdoings after their investigation?," Hai said. "This could have helped prevent many people from falling into their trick. I think that someone from the ministry, especially from the Competition Management Department must be held responsible for their lax management."

In an interview with the Vietnam Television on March 2, head of the Competition Management Department, Bach Van Mung, tried to pass the buck.

When being asked who should be blamed when the Lien Ket Viet cheated up to 60,000 people from 27 cities and provinces in less than one year, Mung said: "The company's leaders should be blamed first, then authorities in these localities should also be responsible."

But Mung only gave an embarrassing smile when being asked why the Department didn't make public their decision to fine the company in November 2015.

In the mean time, the Ministry of Industry and Trade suddenly cancelled its regular press conference on March 1 though they had sent out invitations to many media agencies.

In a commentary on this incident, the Pháp luật TP HCM (HCM City Law) Newspaper wrote: “Many hot issues in the Industry and Trade sector have occured in the past month, including the arrest of leaders of the Lien Ket Viet Company, the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group asking for tax incentives for Dung Quat Refinery, etc. It seems that the Ministry was trying to avoid questions from the media about these issues."

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