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Vietnamese Business, Government Leaders Arrested for Corruption


A major graft scandal has engulfed Vietnam's state-run construction company. Top executives and government officials are under arrest as the Communist Party vows to root out corruption in Vietnam.

So far at least nine people have been arrested on embezzlement and corruption charges.

Senior officials at the state-owned Oil and Gas Construction Company are accused of stealing tens of thousands of government dollars while building a massive gas depot in southern Vietnam. They allegedly outsourced parts of the job, accepted bribes and embezzled government funds in the process.

The communist government is also pursuing related corruption cases against executives at state tourism and transportation agencies.

Russell Heng, a political analyst at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, says the high-profile arrests are likely part of Vietnam's bid to improve its reputation for battling corruption.

"Since they have identified corruption as a serious national problem to deal with, there is constantly press campaigns against corruption by the Vietnamese government," he said.

The scandal-plagued construction project cost more than $150 million. The result was a poorly-built depot, which stores oil piped in from an offshore deposit.

The gas depot, just one component of the overall project, was completed two years behind schedule. State-run media report it was built on a weak foundation and is slowly sinking into the ground.

The government estimates it will cost more than $6 million to repair the site.