Public defamation and dismissal of high-ranking officials are rare in the one-party state but have become more frequent since last year as the party moves to tackle corruption, especially at inefficient state-owned enterprises.

Deputy trade minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa might lose all of her positions at the ministry after the Central Inspection Committee found her responsible for several wrongdoings at the company and in the illegal appointment of a wanted former official.

Thoa approved the appointment of former PetroVietnam Construction Joint Stock Corp chairman and ex-provincial leader Trinh Xuan Thanh, whom police said turned himself in on Monday after a 10-month international manhunt.

The Communist Party expelled Thanh last year for his alleged wrongdoing while at the company and at a provincial leadership body, while the inspection committee said Thoa violated rules on land, privatization, share transfer and asset declaration.

Thoa worked for 18 years at Dien Quang, where she was general director and chairwoman before leaving the executive posts to become a deputy minister in the country's trade ministry in 2010.

Shares of Dien Quang, where some of Thoa's relatives are still key stakeholders besides Canada-based Enterprise Capital Management, have fallen about 40 percent since October 2016 when the inspection committee started looking into her case.

Some former top officials of state-owned companies and units of state oil and gas PetroVietnam (PVN) are facing years of imprisonment for corruption offences following the probe. Earlier this year, a top party official, who once headed PVN, was demoted and expelled from Vietnam's powerful politburo.

"Publicity is very important," state-run Vietnam Television cited Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as saying on Monday about the corruption crackdown.

"Publicity is a sword to heal wounds; it has a great effect, but it has to be accurate, healthy, and we have to reject information that is wrong, distorted and not constructive," the party chief said.

Reuters - July 31, 2017