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Railway officials sentenced to prison

Update: October, 28/2015 - 09:40
The Ha Noi People's Court yesterday sentenced six high-ranking officials of the Viet Nam Railway Corporation (VNR) to a total of 52 years in prison for running a $500,000 slush fund involving the Urban Railway Construction Project (Line 1). — Photo congan.com.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ha Noi People's Court yesterday sentenced six high-ranking officials of the Viet Nam Railway Corporation (VNR) to a total of 52 years in prison for running a $500,000 slush fund involving the Urban Railway Construction Project (Line 1).

Pham Hai Bang, former deputy general director of VNR's Railway Project Management Unit (RPMU) and the case's main perpetrator, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His accomplice, Nguyen Nam Thai, who was RPMU's department head at the time, received an 11-year sentence.

Tran Quoc Dong, former RPMU general director and VNR's deputy general director, who was aware of the slush fund but took no measures to address it, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, along with two other former RPMU heads.

The court ruled the officials were guilty of "abusing power while performing duties" for personal gains. They were also found guilty of misconduct and violations while they were in charge of the urban railway project.

The officials allowed payments to be made in full to the project's contractor, Japanese-based Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc. (JTC) while works were still underway, and overlooked technical standards that had not been met in exchange for the slush fund.

The officials will be prohibited from taking management posts during the three years following their release. In addition, several of their valuable assets were confiscated, as well as the slush fund.

The case was brought to the public's attention in March last year after JTC President Tamio Kakinuma's confession was published, which prompted the arrest of the six Vietnamese railway officials shortly after. — VNS

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