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Ex-transport chief on bribery charge

Update: October, 16/2010 - 10:01

HCM CITY — A former senior transport official appeared in the Criminal Court yesterday on charges of taking a bribe of US$262,000 from a Japanese contractor.

The Supreme People's Procuracy has charged Huynh Ngoc Sy, former deputy director of the city Department of Transport, with accepting a bribe from Japanese Pacific Consultants International (PCI) to help it win contracts related to the VND14 trillion (US$736 million) highway project.

The PCI allegedly gave Sy 10 per cent of the design consultancy contract worth $900,000 and 11 per cent of the supervision consultancy contract worth $1.7 million.

According to the charges by the Supreme People's Procuracy, on May 28, 2003, the chief of the PCI Representative Office in Viet Nam, Sakano Tsuneo, and another Japanese named Takasu Tunio came to Sy's office at 3 Nguyen Thi Dieu Street in District 3's Ward 6, and gave Sy $262,000 (equivalent to more than VND4 billion at that time).

Sy, 57, who was also former director of the HCM City East-West Highway Project, denied the prosecutor's charges, saying he had not taken any bribery from the Japanese company.

Sy said he had neither met PCI representatives at his office, nor taken the money from them.

He said PCI officials' statements accusing him of taking bribery were "groundless", and asked to confront PCI officials but his requirements were rejected.

Sy was defended by three lawyers including Phan Trung Hoai, who appeared for him at the previous trial in March 2010 when he was sentenced to six years for "abusing power while performing Government service".

The others lawyers defending the convicted tranport official were Tran Van Tao and Pham Cong Ut.

Work on the highway began in 2005 at an estimated cost of more thanVND14 trillion, including $332 million from official development assistance loans from Japan.

The trial will last until October 18. — VNS

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