The Government Inspectorate of Vietnam has selected its 10 biggest corruption scandals uncovered in 2006, with the case involving the transport ministry’s PMU 18 topping the list.
The following are the top ten corruption cases for 2006:
1. The million-dollar gambling case involving Bui Tien Dung, former General Director of PMU (Project Management Unit) 18, and the wrongdoings related to this agency.
After the wrongdoings were exposed, Minister of Communications and Transport Dao Dinh Binh had to step down and his permanent deputy, Nguyen Viet Tien, was arrested later. A total of 17 affiliated institutions and 40 individuals involved in the case have been disciplined. The Government had to consider and adjust the official development assistance (ODA) capital management mechanism.
2. State officials of Do Son town in northern Hai Phong City involved in a massive landgrab case pocketed billions of dong (VND1 billion = $62,036). However, the city court in August sentenced three of four officials involved to pay merely VND50,000 (US$3.1) each.
The lenient verdict left the public seething, forcing Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to step in. He instructed authorities to appeal the lenient court verdict and told investigators to look into the role of the judges who had heard the case to find out if the Hai Phong city government had interfered.
3. Public houses turned into state officials’ private residences. The cases were unveiled by the media in
Le Duc Thuy, Governor of the State Bank of
Meanwhile, Hoang Van Nghien and Phan Van Vuong, former chairman and vice chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, applied to buy two public villas they were leasing, at prices far lower than market value. However, after the case was unveiled the city refused the housing purchases.
4. The bogus Rusalka project in central Khanh Hoa province, in which the investor, Nguyen Duc Chi, swindled investors out of US$10 million.
Some provincial officials were found to have persuaded the local government to issue a land use certificate for the Rulsalka beach resort project even though the project promoter had not paid the fees and rental, or signed a lease contract.
The promoter was Rus-Invest-Tur, a Russian-invested tourism company, whose director Nguyen Duc Chi was arrested in 2005 for fraud.
The certificate, which said Chi had the right to use 43.6 hectares of prime beach front in the popular resort town of
He duped two state-owned companies of more than $10 million. Following his arrest, he had admitted to paying $700,000 bribes to Khanh Hoa province officials.
5. Nguyen Lam Thai’s involvement in dubious post office equipment procurement with 38 post offices of cities and provinces nationwide.
Thai bribed leaders of local post offices in many localities to sign contracts to purchase postal equipment at inflated prices, causing the loss of VND45 billion ($2.81 million) to the State.
6. Mac Kim Ton, former education director cum central legislator’s fraudulent case within the education sector.
Ton was originally suspended from head of northern Thai Binh province’s education department in July 2006 for allegedly helping a woman named Tran Thi Anh pocket more than US$25,000 commission for brokering shady computer deals for his agency.
Ton was arrested July 21 for his involvement in the scandal, orchestrated by Anh, who was prosecuted in June for abusing his position and power for personal gain and illegally seizing State property.
The education director, also an ex-member of the lawmaking National Assembly [legislator], had earlier introduced freelancer Tran Thi Anh [later arrested] as a state official who would help broker a computer procurement contract for the department.
Anh then abused her false status to broker shady contracts worth VND4.2 billion (US$261,763) supplying computers to Ton’s department and more than 40 schools in Thai Binh province.
7. Wrongdoings at the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines saw the state owned corporation finance ineligible children of leaders to study abroad. Vietnam Airlines also had to pay EUR5.2 million (US$6.85 million) in fines for violating a contract signed with a hired foreign expert.
8. Afforestation land in
9. Officials skimmed off aid money for Huong Son district residents in northern Ha Tinh Province. The case took place in 2004, but was only brought to the light in 2006.
10. Fraudulence in senior high school graduation exams in 2006. Teacher Do Viet Khoa blew the whistle on fellow invigilators at exams in northern Ha Tay Province, kick-starting a movement on saying ‘no’ to cheating in education.
The brave teacher was awarded the certificate of merit by the Ministry of Education and Training.