Authorities in the central province of Quang Ngai have found evidence of possible corruption in the building of shoddy $30,000 restrooms at local schools.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper Monday quoted the conclusion by Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the provincial administration, as saying that regulatory violations by the provincial Department of Education and Training, the Department of Planning and Investment, as well as the project’s consultants and contractors cost over VND317 million ($14,700).
The VND9.1 billion ($424,600)-plus project to build 24 clean water works and school restrooms between 2010 and 2013 was funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s National Program of Clean Water and Environmental Hygiene.
Cao Khoa, chairman of the People’s Committee, ordered the education department that acted as the investor to return the money, and its leaders to censure involved people, the newspaper reported.
Local inspectors concluded that 17 works had been built as of the inspection, and there were numerous violations in terms of techniques, designs, and accounted expenses like labor and material costs that were wrongly recorded.
One of the works, a 29-square-meter restroom in Long Hiep Secondary School in Minh Long District, was initially estimated to cost nearly VND600 million ($28,300). But, following the inspection, its cost decreased almost by half, according to the news report.
The province authorities launched the investigation after Tuoi Tre reported in June that many local school restrooms were small and lacked doors and flush toilets despite costing as much as VND750 million ($35,700) each.
It also quoted several contractors as saying the cost should have been much less.
Vietnam's annual per capita income was $1,555 in 2012.
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