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State-audit finds $365mil misused   2009-12-03 - Viet Nam News

The State Audit Office of Viet Nam conducted financial audits of 133 major State-owned enterprises during 2006-08 and unearthed nearly VND6.6 trillion ($365 million) in misappropriated State subsidies or wrongful expenditures, according to Deputy State Auditor General Le Minh Khai.

By signing futures contracts for fuel during 2008-09, Jetstar Pacific Airlines had already lost over $31 million due to the plunging price of oil on the world market.

Among the enterprises audited were Petrolimex and other leading petroleum importers and distributors; the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the nation's sovereign fund; and the second phase of the national poverty reduction programme known as Programme 135, Khai told a news conference yesterday, December 2.

In looking at petroleum importers, auditors thoroughly examined the use of State subsidies and found VND87.2 billion ($4.9 million) had been wrongfully drawn by these companies in 2006-2007, Khai said.

State auditors had also asked these enterprises to reduce 2008 subsidies by VND937.7 billion ($52 million), he added.

Auditors discovered that some companies, including the Dong Thap and marine oil and gas companies had applied a high benchmark for calculating loss issued by the Ministry of Trade in 1986 rather than currently authorised methods of calculation.

Auditors also found that there had been a spike in the volume of petroleum sold by companies prior to an officially authorised increase in petrol prices, a move that would have maximised subsidy payments.

However, for three years, Petrolimex has contributed VND39.6 trillion to the State budget while receiving about VND21.6 trillion in subsidies. The Mekong Oil and Gas Co had also contributed VND1.8 trillion to the State budget while receiving nearly VND1.7 trillion in subsidies.

This indicated that the Government could use taxation as a method to offset State subsidies, said Dao Van Dung, director of the General Department under the State Audit.

By signing futures contracts for fuel during 2008-09, Jetstar Pacific Airlines had already lost over $31 million due to the plunging price of oil on the world market.

The State Audit found that the records of Jetstar Pacific Airlines, a joint stock company in which the Government owns over 70 per cent of equity and for which the SCIC is the representative of the State interest, reflected a 2008 loss by the airline of VND1.1 trillion.

Based on the results of the audit, auditors had recommended that the SCIC pay about VND25.2 billion into the State Treasury for the year 2008 and adopt new transparency and accountability guidelines.

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