News / Asia

Vietnam, Japan Launch Joint Probe into Bribe Allegations

FILE - Anti-corruption activist Le Hien Duc (C) is assisted by anti-China protesters as they march during a protest along a street in Hanoi.
FILE - Anti-corruption activist Le Hien Duc (C) is assisted by anti-China protesters as they march during a protest along a street in Hanoi.
Japan says it is cooperating with Vietnam to investigate claims made by the head of a Tokyo-based firm that allegedly paid $1.3 million to Vietnamese officials to win contracts in development projects.

In an email to VOA's Vietnamese service Tuesday, embassy official Nguyen Hoa Trang said, "We are actively engaging with Vietnam to gather information and to clarify what happened."

Nguyen Van Huyen, chief inspector at Vietnam's Ministry of Transport, told VOA’s Vietnamese service some railway officials associated with Japan Transportation Consultants (JTC) projects have been temporarily suspended.

He added, however, that the Ministry has not received the names of those who allegedly received bribes from the transportation consultant firm.

“The minister [Dinh La Thang] already held a meeting and ordered related officials to explain what they did. We will set up inspecting teams to review all projects with JTC to see whether they properly followed procedures,” said Nguyen.

According to Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, Tamio Kakinuma, the head of JTC, admitted the bribery scheme to Tokyo prosecutors last week. He alleged that JTC paid cash in return for a rail project funded by Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Vietnam.

The allegations have been widely covered in the state-run media in Vietnam, where the government is staging a high profile fight against corruption.

The case has sparked heated debates on social media and among public servants over the effectiveness of Vietnam’s anti-graft campaign.

Economist Le Dang Doanh told VOA’s Vietnamese Service he is ‘deeply saddened and embarrassed’ by the revelation.

“The case has an impact on the blossoming ties between Japan and Vietnam, as well as on Japan’s ODA reimbursement for Vietnam. Although mutual relations have been great, it is possible that the Japanese side will have negative reactions, as ODA originates from tax money and it is supposed to be used in an effective way,” he said.

Veteran social activist Le Hien Duc, dubbed by many as the grandmother of the anti-corruption movement, expressed hopes the alleged bribe will be thoroughly investigated and the results made public to regain the trust of ordinary people.

“There’s no smoke without fire. If there are allegations, there surely is corruption. Now it is necessary to have someone with good conscience to investigate and respond to public queries both inside and outside Vietnam. It is then considered credible,” she said.

Japan is Vietnam’s largest ODA donor, and in 2008 Japan suspended its development assistance to the Southeast Asian country six months after a high-profile bribery case related to Japan’s aid-funded project

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, Vietnam ranks as No. 116 out of 177 countries and territories.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Vietnamese Service.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More