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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs