HANOI, VIETNAM: A Vietnamese official has been suspended from his job while authorities investigate whether he accepted bribes in connection with a Japanese-funded highway project, state media reported Wednesday (19 Nov).
Huynh Ngoc Sy, vice director of Ho Chi Minh City’s transportation department was overseeing a highway project that allegedly received bribes from Japan-based Pacific Consults International.
Four executives from Pacific Consults International pleaded guilty in a Tokyo court last week to paying $820,000 in bribes to Sy in exchange for contracts in the highway project. They said the payments were made in 2003 and 2004.
According to a report on the VietNamNet news Web site, Vietnamese authorities suspended Sy from his job on Wednesday while they conduct their own investigation into the bribery charges.
Officials at the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee were not available for comment.
Last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung promised Vietnamese lawmakers that the government would investigate the case thoroughly.
Corruption is rampant in Vietnam and the ruling Communist Party has vowed to make corruption one of its top priorities. Dozens of senior government officials have been jailed for graft in recent years.
Japan is Vietnam’s largest aid donor and has committed to giving the country $1.1 billion in aid this year, according to Vietnamese government figures. (AP)