Vietnam fires southern city party chief for mismanagement

Vietnam's ruling communists fired the party boss in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City after finding he made "serious mistakes and violations" while heading oil and gas monopoly PetroVietnam.

Dinh La Thang had earlier been removed from the powerful Politburo, the highest decision-making body of of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He headed PetroVietnam from 2006 until 2011, when he was appointed transport minister. He served until early last year, when he took up the posts in the Politburo and Ho Chi Minh City.

The party's inspection committee said in April that Thang permitted an investment in the private Ocean Bank that exceeded regulations, causing "very serious losses to PetroVietnam." He also was found responsible for a lack of oversight over four major projects, resulting in their suspension and financial losses.

State-run Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Thang as telling a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City announcing the changes that the party's decision to remove him from the Politburo was "reasonable" and that he apologized to the people and the party for his mistakes while heading PetroVietnam.

The paper reported Monday that Thang has been named deputy chief of the party's Economic Commission. He remains in the 180-member Central Committee.

His replacement in Ho Chi Minh City is Nguyen Thien Nhan, a Harvard-trained official and head of the Fatherland Front, an umbrella group of pro-government mass movements.

Nhan, 63, was deputy mayor of Ho Chi Minh City until becoming education minister in 2006 and later was elected to the Politburo and appointed chairman of the Fatherland Front.

Ho Chi Minh City, with the population of more than 10 million, is the country's economic engine, contributing 23 percent of the GDP.