Road worker accuses contractor of corruption in HCMC

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A sacked worker has accused the contractor of a road project in Ho Chi Minh City of corruption by using cheaper and less materials than needed, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Friday.

According to the newspaper, the South Vietnam Bridge Road Building Technology Institute on Thursday took concrete samples from the pavement on Hoang Sa Street in District 1 to clarify Le Ngoc Hue's allegation.

The accused contractor, Construction and Natural Gas Joint-stock Company (IDICO-CONAC), asked the independent institute to conduct the tests after Hue sent letters alleging corruption to the city's authorities and transport department early this month.

Hue said in April IDICO-CONAC assigned him to concrete the road with a regulated amount of cement, sand and stones.

However, during the last three weeks of May, Hue was ordered to cut down on the amount of the materials, including halving the quantity of cement, and use cheaper sand. The worker said he was sacked because he refused to follow the order.

Meanwhile, the investor, the Transport Management Agency No.1 under the HCMC Department of Transport, said Hue was fired for violating working procedures.

Do Van Cuong, deputy chief of IDICO-CONAC's planning and technique office, and who is in charge of the contract package, said in the Tuoi Tre report that the work was conducted in accordance with design and definitely did not use cheaper sand in making the pavement.

Pham Sanh, a transportation expert, said only the city's transport department was qualified to organize an "independent" and "objective" test on transportation works' quality, the newspaper reported.

To cut down on the amount of cement in concrete used for pavement does not affect its life span by much, but it shows signs of waste and corruption, he said.

Other countries do not make pavements with concrete, but use sand as buffer before putting tiles on, the expert said.

A Saturday report by Tuoi Tre quoted Le Quyet Thang, director of the Transport Management Agency No.1, as saying if the tests to be concluded in a couple of days shows that the contractor committed violations, it will be fined and asked to re-do the road.

The concerned consultancy and supervising company will also be fined, he added.

The Hoang Sa road is part of the project to upgrade streets along the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal. It covers a total length of 10 kilometers with an investment of VND407.5 billion (US$19.46 million).

Eight companies were contracted to pave the streets and the project was scheduled for completion this September 2.

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