Former transport ministry's officials to stand trial for graft

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Vietnam's supreme prosecutor's office is charging eight former officials with embezzlement for allegedly pocketing over VND3.4 billion (US$174,403) in public funds, a source told Thanh Nien Friday.


According to the recent indictments, Bui Tien Dung, a former Director at the Ministry of Transport's Project Management Unit 18 (PMU18), and another seven of his subordinates falsified invoices to reflect work done by non-existent consultants to the Bai Chay Bridge project in Quang Ninh Province.


The project began in 1998 with a total investment of VND1.3 trillion ($66.68 million).


From August 2003 to February 2006, the defendants siphoned off over VND3.4 billion from the salaries of 26 non-existent workers, according to the indictment.


Prosecutors are also charging Do Kim Quy, former Deputy Chief of PMU18, for receiving VND500 million ($25,647) from Dung as a retirement gift.


Quy will face charges of "accepting gifts produced by criminal means."


On March 29 the Hanoi's People's Court delayed the trial, saying more evidence was needed.


Dung is presently serving a 13-year jail sentence handed down to him in 2007 for gambling and bribery in a separate case.


On August 3 he also received a three-year jail term for misusing state-owned cars, costing the state VND2.7 billion ($141,695).


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