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Vietnam suspends railway official after $780k bribe allegation

Sunday, March 23, 2014, 21:32 GMT+7

A Vietnamese railway official was suspended Sunday following Japanese media reports that a Japanese firm had paid bribes worth over US$780,000 in Vietnam to win an order for a project using Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

The state-owned Vietnam Railways Corporation temporarily removed Nguyen Van Hieu from his post as the chief of a board tasked with managing railway projects, Tran Ngoc Thanh, chairman of the corporation, told Tuoi Tre the same day.

Thanh said that his company held a meeting Sunday with all its units to discuss the bribery allegation reported by the Yomiuri Shimbunnewspaper.

The corporation has also set up an inspection team to look into the accusation, Thanh added.

“We have yet to decide who is wrong or has broken the law,” Thanh noted. “The suspension was imposed to let the person make clarifications and it is not our final conclusion.”

The chairman said that his corporation will undertake an examination of those projects funded by Japanese ODA and related to the Japanese firm that said it had paid bribes in Vietnam.

Yomiuri Shimbun reported Friday that the president of Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc. (JTC) confessed his firm had paid a total of ¥80 million ($782,640) in return for an ODA project order worth ¥4.2 billion ($41,088,600) in Vietnam.

The company is believed to have bribed a senior official of an office responsible for project administration at the Vietnam Railways Corporation, the Japanese newspaper said.

JTC reportedly bribed civil servants in Vietnam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan with ¥130 million ($1,271,790) from February 2008 to February this year in order to receive orders for five Japanese ODA-funded projects in these countries, according to Yomiuri Shimbun.

Tuoi Tre

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