Central Vietnam former officials probed for embezzlement

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Police in the central province of Phu Yen said they are investigating four former officials on charges of embezzlement in a Swedish-funded environmental remediation project, a local official said Friday.


Nguyen Kim Phuc, 54, former director of the Phu Yen Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and three of his subordinates have been prohibited from leaving their residences, according to Vo Ho, chief of the provincial police department's Economic Crime Investigation Office.


Phu Yen police have already announced the names of six other former officials who are under investigation for their role in the VND13-billion (US$633,837) project's scam.


The project was part of the SEMLA program - a Swedish initiative to support environmental and natural resources programs in six provinces between 2004 and 2009.


Last October, Phuc was dismissed from his position for allegedly forging project documents in order to pocket tens of millions of dong.


He was also accused of allowing his subordinates to do the same.


Police said the group siphoned hundreds of millions of dong from the project fund.


The official investigation into the charges remains underway.


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