Standing Deputy Prime Minister and former foreign minister Pham Binh Minh will no longer be a member of the Politburo or a member of the 13th Central Party Committee following a Friday vote by the committee.
Previously on Tuesday, the Politburo and the Secretariat said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Party Committee in the 2016-2021 term has violated democratic centralism principles and mismanaged leaders from the ministry and other organizations, allowing them to violate Party regulations and the law regarding the organization of Covid-19 repatriation flights.
Certain officials have violated Party regulations and have accepted bribes, they added. The violations of the foreign ministry’s Party Committee of the 2016-2021 term have caused severe consequences, social discontent and diminished the reputation of the Party and Vietnam’s diplomatic sector, they said.
Foreign minister Bui Thanh Son was reprimanded by the Politburo over management negligence that led to violations in organizing Covid-19 repatriation flights on Tuesday.
Minh, 63, is a veteran diplomat who entered the foreign affairs ministry in 1981. He then held several positions in the diplomatic sector, before becoming the deputy foreign minister in 2007, and the foreign minister in 2011. He became the deputy prime minister in 2013, a position he has held for the last 9 years. He became a standing deputy prime minister in 2021.
Vietnam’s Communist Party has four modes of punishment against members: reprimand, warning, demotion and expulsion. The government has a similar four-tier punishment structure, with the last one being dismissal from service.
A Covid-19 repatriation flight bribery scandal has come to light over the past year, resulting in over 30 people from multiple ministries being arrested, including high-ranking officials like former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung.
The Ministry of Public Security said in June that each repatriation flight earned profits of several billion Vietnamese dong (VND1 billion = $43,600) after deducting costs.
Vietnam had operated around 400 repatriation flights to bring home residents stranded overseas during the global Covid outbreaks.
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