Vietnam's chief prosecutor seeks info in Japanese ODA bribe allegations

By Thanh Nien News, TN News

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The Supreme People’s Procuracy, Vietnam’s highest prosecutor’s office, has officially asked Japan for information related to allegations of official misconduct made against a Vietnamese official, news website VnExpress reported Monday.
Tran Hoa Binh, the head of the procuracy, sent a note last week to the Japanese Minister of Justice requesting further information after President Truong Tan Sang ordered the office to clarify the allegations.
On March 21, Japan News reported that Tamio Kakinuma, the president of Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc. (JTC) admitted that his company had paid an official 80 million yen (US$782,000) in return for an ODA (official development assistance) project order worth 4.2 billion yen ($41 million) in Vietnam.
The paper cited informed sources as saying Kakinuma, 65, made the allegations during questioning by the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office while reportedly issuing a signed confession.
The paper reported that the kickback had been paid to a senior official responsible for project administration at the state-owned Vietnam Railways.
JTC is alleged to have paid a total of 130 million yen ($1.27 million) to foreign civil servants in Indonesia, Vietnam and Uzbekistan between February 2008 and this February to obtain orders for five ODA projects.
JTC entered Vietnam in 1993. It has joined more than 10 railway-related projects in Vietnam.
Several days after the Japanese media reported the case, Vietnam sent Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong to Japan to confer with investigators.
Dong reported that the Japanese authorities refused to provide further information, citing an ongoing investigation.
Vietnam has ordered 14 railway officials, including three retired ones, to submit reports on the work they had done on Japanese-funded projects. All have denied any involvement in the bribery case.

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