Vinalines gets green light for selling dock linked to massive corruption
The transport ministry has approved state shipping company Vinalines' proposal to auction an unused floating dock that was linked to one of the most high-profile corruption scandals in recent years, according to news website VnExpress.
Vinalines would have to plan the sale of 83M to keep losses as low as possible, the website quoted Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong as saying Saturday.
He also expected the sale to be organized and finished soon, saying the longer it takes, the more money would be lost and the more dangerous the dock would become to the environment and ships.
Last month Vinalines sought the government's permission to auction the dock with a reserve price of VND34.8 billion (US$1.53 million) after failing to find investors to jointly operate it.
The proposed price is much lower than its book value of VND500 billion ($22.1 million), as the decades-old dock had never been used since being brought into Vietnam in 2008, Vinalines said in the proposal citing a local consultancy company.
Its value also eroded sharply due to incomplete repair works that were suspended in 2012, according to the company.
Vinalines bought the dock from Russian company Nakhodka through a Singaporean brokerage firm called AP.
It paid nearly four times the offered price of $2.3 million for the heavily damaged dock, and then purportedly spent another $10.5 million repairing it. As it lay idle, insurance and port fees kept piling on.
Its purchase was approved by then chairman Duong Chi Dung, who, together with general director Mai Van Phuc, were found guilty of receiving VND10 billion ($442,000) each in kickbacks for the deal.
They were both given death sentences at a trial in 2013, while eight others, including Vinalines executives and customs officers, were jailed for up to 22 years.