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Railway probe gets underway

Update: March, 29/2014 - 09:16

HA NOI (VNS)— Transport Minister Dinh La Thang will set up an independent team to investigate the alleged misuse of Japanese government aid.

The move follows a report in Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun that Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc (JTC) admitted to paying JPY80 million (about US$780,000) to win a $41 million railway project in Viet Nam funded by Japanese official development assistance (ODA).

The team will clarify what happened and propose measures to punish any individuals or organisations found violating regulations. Led by chief inspector of the transport ministry Nguyen Van Huyen, the team includes three police officials from the Ministry of Public Security. It has set up a hotline at 0986093979 to receive information about the case.

Investigation started yesterday on the Ha Noi urban railway (Line 1), which is to be followed by investigations into other railway projects contracted to the JTC as well as minor projects managed by the Viet Nam Railway Authority.

Four senior Vietnamese railway officials have been suspended pending further investigation into the case. The ministry ordered 10 officials to present written accounts of their involvement in the early stages of the Ha Noi railway project.

In an article published on March 21, Yomiuri Shimbun – the highest circulating newspaper in Japan – reported that JTC President Tamio Kakinuma admitted to paying "kickbacks" to civil servants in Viet Nam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan in return for orders for five ODA projects.

According to the newspaper, illegal payments were made on some 40 occasions between 2008 and February this year, totaling about JPY130 million ($1.27 million). — VNS

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