Vietnam officials face bribery charges

04 July 2008

The trial of 12 people, including 10 state officials resumed in Vietnam this week following its adjournment in January, after the judge presiding over the case was suddenly taken ill, reports local news agency Thanhnien News.

The 12 face charges of taking bribes, embezzlement and "irresponsibility" related to a river dike system construction in the central Phu Yen Province.

The officials were charged with receiving bribes to help state-owned Construction Machinery Corporation win an auction for the VND 20.7 billion (US$ 1.3 million) Bach Dang dike project in the province's Tuy Hoa Town in 2001.

Luong Ngoc Ai, director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, was charged with receiving a bribe of VND 110 million (US$ 6530).

Le Mao, vice director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was charged with receiving VND 20 million (US$ 1187).

Mr Mao and other officials involved in the project were also accused of embezzling over VND 1 billion (US$ 59300) in construction materials.

In 2006, four years after the dike project began, a large portion of the structure collapsed into the river.

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