Five inspectors under Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction have been apprehended for allegedly demanding bribes worth billions of dong (VND1 billion = US$43,000) while on duty in the northern province of Vinh Phuc.
The members of the construction ministry’s inspectorate were taken into custody by Vinh Phuc Police on Wednesday afternoon, officers confirmed on Thursday.
Led by Nguyen Thi Kim Anh, deputy head of the anti-smuggling office under the ministry’s inspectorate, the inspectors had been tasked with examining several projects in some of the Vinh Phuc's districts and cities, according to the police report.
While working in Vinh Tuong District, the inspectors indentified bidding violations related to a project in Ly Nhan Commune, after finding out that Viet Hung, a local company, had won multiple bidding packages worth tens of billions of dong (VND10 billion = $430,000).
Meanwhile, the firm’s charter capital was only VND3 billion ($129,000).
The inspectors then asked Viet Hung Company for billions of dong (VND1 billion = $43,000) in order to cover up the violation.
|Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha speaks to the press on June 13, 2019. Photo: Tien Long / Tuoi Tre|
According to Ta Quang Vinh, head of the office of the construction ministry, further detail about the case will be published in the upcoming days following a working session with the inspectors in question.
A probe by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper revealed that the working trips in Vinh Phuc Province are part of a 2019 inspection plan being undertaken by the construction ministry, which was approved by Minister Pham Hong Ha in October 2018.
The plan, which is an annual activity, includes a total of 90 inspections in the construction sector in Vinh Phuc and approximately ten other provinces and cities across the country. It is set to run through the end of the year.
Speaking to the press on Thursday, Minister of Construction Pham Hong Ha asserted that he will not abet such a crime and will impose stern punishments upon violators once police conclude their investigation.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Friday ordered competent authorities to promptly probe the case and report the result prior to August 1.