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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid