HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Transport has pledged to promptly investigate and punish any person – "no matter who they are" - if involved in the suspected misuse of Japanese Government aid.
The ministry's statement was released after a Japanese newspaper reported an investigation of a Tokyo-based railway consultant firm that admitted to paying JPY80 million (about US$780,000) to win a $41 million project in Viet Nam, which is funded by the Japanese Government's official development assistance (ODA).
At an urgent meeting yesterday in Ha Noi, the Vietnamese ministry pointed out that the accused firm - the Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc (JTC) – was involved in the ongoing Ha Noi City Urban Railway Construction Project (Line 1).
"The ministry will closely work with the Japanese Embassy and the Japan International Co-operation Agency in Viet Nam to receive and exchange information relating to the case," said Minister Dinh La Thang.
"We have also asked relevant individuals involved in the project, including those who have shifted to other jobs and those who have retired, to temporarily stop their assignments to report on this case for investigation purpose," he said, adding that all reports of individuals must be submitted by the end of this month.
Regarding the suspected Ha Noi City Urban Railway Construction Project (Line 1), the ministry asked the project management board to temporarily stop the disbursement of funds following the contract being signed with JTC.
Also yesterday, the ministry delivered a report to the Prime Minister, the Party Central Committee's Commission on Internal Affairs, the Government Inspectorate, Ministry of Public Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the controversy.
Transport Minister Thang stated that the prompt investigation would help strengthen the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and Japan, as well as reaffirm the determination of the Party and the Government in the fight against corruption.
Also, Deputy Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong will work with the Japanese embassy and JICA today regarding the case.
Earlier last week, in a March 21 article, Yomiuri Shimbun – the largest circulation Japanese newspaper– reported that Tamio Kakinuma, JTC's president, had admitted to paying "kickbacks" to foreign civil servants in Viet Nam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan, in return for orders it received for official development assistance (ODA) projects. According to the newspaper, JTC's illegal payments were made on some 40 occasions in five years, starting from 2008 until February this year, totalling JPY130 million ($1.27 million), for orders it received for five ODA projects. — VNS