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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid