Commune officials subvert Miriane relief

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Commune officials in a central Vietnamese province have misappropriated relief aid received for Typhoon Miriane last November and distributed it among their families, friends and relatives, inspectors have found.

My Tam, a popular pop singer, donated VND1.5 million (US$78) each to 200 victims of the typhoon in An Cu Commune, Tuy An District of Phu Yen Province.

But some commune officials and heads of Phu Tan 2 and Hoa Thanh villages took 29 portions of this aid for their wives, children and parents.

The officials also listed their families for receiving support from Vinh Long Province in the Mekong Delta. Each of these aid packages included VND500,000 in cash, a 30-pack box of instant noodles and clothes.

Wives and relatives of the officials were also named in many other lists to receive VND100,000 or more each.

The family of Nguyen Van Thanh, an An Cu commune official, received relief aid four times.

Pham Van Cuong, vice chairman of An Cu Commune People's Committee, was assigned to manage the rice warehouse for providing relief to local victims based on a list made earlier. But Cuong let his subordinate Nguyen Thai Hoang open the store and take 60 kilograms of rice to his brother-in-law Le Trong Tuan.

These acts were found after local residents filed complaints.

The Tuy An District People's Committee had ordered the commune to return the money by late February and dismissed some village heads. Thanh and Cuong have got away with rebukes.

Local residents say not all the money has been returned yet.

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