Mr. Phan Dinh Trac is a powerful arm of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong. Considered to be the replacement of Mr. Nguyen Ba Thanh, late head of the party’s Central Commission on Internal Affairs, to serve as a pioneer soldier. Currently, the Defense Ministry is the place of influence disputes between Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Therefore, the Defense Ministry is also the place where Mr. Trong wants to “restructure” and gain more power.
On October 12, 2022, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong appointed Mr. Phan Dinh Trac as Head of Inspection Team No. 1 of the Central Steering Commission on Anti-corruption and anti-wrongdoing, to work with the Standing Board of the Central Military Commission. The content of the work is to inspect the leadership, direction and organization of detection, transfer, denunciations and their responses as well as petitions to probe cases with signs of corruption and wrongdoings at the Central Military Commission. In general, Mr. Phan Dinh Trac came to the Defense Ministry for inspection.
On January 20, 2023, in an article on the occasion of 10 years of re-establishing the internal affairs agency (2013-2023), Mr. Phan Dinh Trac said a “green” sentence that, “Strictly handle both senior officials and generals in the armed forces.” This is considered a declaration of war against some force in the army. Mr. Trac added “must be proactive, decisive and effective in advising in leadership and direction to detect and handle corruption and negative cases” and he affirmed his determination to fight corruption. “no restricted zones, no exceptions, whoever that person is.”
One has never heard a head of the Central Commission for Internal Affairs speak so strongly, but aimed at dozens of army generals. Currently, the Vietnamese army is like a small state, with 22 members of the Party Central Committee, including 2 members of the Politburo, the interests are great, so the fractions fight for power fiercely.
With a budget of more than $7 billion per year, the Defense Ministry’s arms sales are huge sums of money, with the General Intelligence Department (or General Department 2) at the core. This place is the focal point to go ahead, set up foreign relation and lead the Defense Ministry to sign contracts. In this ministry, Mr. Pham Minh Chinh has a very strong influence, recently Mr. Pham Minh Chinh has made a move to strengthen the General Intelligence Department.
Because Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan was involved in arms sales contracts between Vietnam and Israel, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong allowed Mr. To Lam to track down Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan. To date, the case involving Ms. Nhan in Dong Nai has been brought to trial, and Ms. Nhan was sentenced in absentia to 30 years in prison. A sentence that is said to be very heavy.
On the Party side, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong is actively monitoring Phan Dinh Trac and uncovering cases that may have taken place in the Defense Ministry. Legally, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong asked To Lam to track down Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan about the case. This time, Mr. Trong used the tactic of “internal and external attacks” fighting both within the Military Party Committee and at the arms trading lines outside the Party.
Mr. Phan Dinh Trac said that the Central Steering Commission is directly monitoring and directing 193 criminal cases and 140 affairs. Cases and affairs, after being brought into the category of being monitored and directed by the Steering Commission, were promptly and aggressively investigated, probed, and handled strictly, with no restricted areas, no exceptions, very strict.
Among these, there are many cases of corruption and wrongdoings, especially serious and complicated; including backlog cases from many years ago and cases occurring in industries and fields of deep expertise, closed and secret activities, which are considered “sensitive and forbidden zones.” Along with that, both the public and private sectors have been advised to investigate and strictly handle, both incumbent and retired cadres, both high-ranking cadres, general-level cadres in the armed forces.
It seems that Mr. Trac is receiving the General Secretary’s order to attack Pham Minh Chinh’s stronghold in the army.