Mekong Delta cops charged with misappropriating confiscated funds

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Vietnamese prosecutors have charged three former police officers in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang with "abuses of power" for earning interest on money seized in fuel smuggling cases.

Ngo Thanh Phong, former chief inspector at Tien Giang Province Police Department, his former deputy Nguyen Van Nen and former cashier at the Investigation Office, Pham Van Ut, were charged with pocketing more than VND1.3 billion (US$62,000) between 2002 and 2006, according to the indictment from the Supreme People's Procuracy, highest prosecutorial office in Vietnam.

According to the indictment, in 2002, the Investigation Office was assigned to probe a fuel smuggling ring in a case which police ended up seizing tens of billions of dong in cash from suspects.

Inspectors say that Phong accepted a suggestion from Nen to deposit the money into savings accounts.

They connived with Ut to transfer the interest into the official office fund, from which Phong embezzled over VND1.1 billion ($52,600).

Nen took over VND34 million ($1,600), and Ut was given VND9 million ($430), according to the findings.

Under Vietnamese law, all currency confiscated as part of criminal investigations must be submitted to the State Treasury.

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