Former officials charged with pocketing $6,000 in public money

The People’s Supreme Procuracy has charged two former officials overseeing a Japanese-assisted infrastructure project in Ho Chi Minh City with pocketing the rent paid for a public building by a consultant to the project.

East-West Highway Project, one of the ODA projects, is under construction.

In its indictment July 22, the prosecutor’s office accused Huynh Ngoc Si, former director of the East-West Highway and Water Environment Project, and Le Qua, his deputy, of misappropriating US$80,000 paid by Pacific Consultants International (PCI).

The lease contract said PCI would pay $2,500 a month to the Project but the Tokyo-based company actually paid $5,000. Project officials allegedly pocketed the remaining amount, with Huynh Ngoc Si accused of getting VND52 million ($ 2,900) and Le Qua VND 54 million.

The two along with the other officials who allegedly stole the money had turned in VND 1.1 billion to investigators.

The two have been in custody since February on suspicion they took bribes to award the consultancy contract to PCI.

When the allegations surfaced, the Japanese Government suspended ODA to Viet Nam until the Vietnamese Government launched an investigation. It resumed the assistance in March.

PCI officials told a Japanese court they had paid Mr.Si a bribe of $820,000.

The investigation is continuing.

Source: Tuoi Tre Newspaper-Translated by Hai Dang

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