Construction firm officials arrested in fatal road accident probe

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Police in the southern province of Dong Nai Wednesday placed two officials of a construction company in custody for three months for investigating their culpability in the death of a teenage girl.


Vu Van Truong, 41, chief of execution team, and Thai Dinh Vu, 26, member of the project management board of the Licogi 9.2 Joint-stock Company, will be investigated on charges of "lacking responsibility, causing critical consequences."


The Bien Hoa-Vung Tau Expressway Development Joint Stock Company had sub-contracted to Licogi 9 construction work on part of the National Way 51 that is being expanded, according to initial findings.


In March 2010, Licogi 9 handed over the job to its affiliate Licogi 9.2. The firms belong to the Ministry of Construction's Infrastructure Development and Construction Corporation, also known as LICOGI.


After completing the paving of asphalt on January 16 this year, Truong ordered his team to remove all warning signs and replace corrugated iron barriers with stakes grounded in concrete blocks.


The barriers were set about ten meters from each other and connected with nylon strings to keep vehicles from entering the newly-paved section.


At around 5.30 a.m. next day Vu Thi Dung, 49, drove her daughter, 17-year-old Pham Hoai Diem, on a motorbike from the southern coastal town of Vung Tau to Ho Chi Minh City.


Dung's bike tumbled over a concrete block, and both riders fell down on the street. A car, driven by Nguyen Anh Bang, 28, ran over Diem, killing her on the spot, while Dung was slightly injured.


In an interview with Thanh Nien, Nguyen Dinh Trung, chief of Long Thanh District's People's Procuracy, said since the expansion project was launched, hundreds of traffic accidents have taken placed on National Way 51, killing several people.


Trung said the accidents were partly caused by the carelessness of contractors.


In many cases they considered seeking criminal charges, but lacked the evidence to do so, Trung said, adding that this was the first time they had clearly identified the contractor's lack of responsibility.


Trung said his office had previously sent two letters to the project's investors, asking them to take care of traffic safety.


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