Vietnam auditors stand trial for bribery to cover up construction overspending

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A court in Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam Tuesday began a trial of four state auditors charged with taking VND680 million (US$32,600) in bribes from contractors of public construction works to turn a blind eye to their overspending.

The indictment said Nguyen Van Quyen, 38, Ngo Quang Dang, 36, Nguyen Quang Thanh, 42, and Ngo Hong Minh, 30, of the State Auditing of Vietnam were assigned in 2010 to check the use of funds for 10 public construction works in the province between 2006 and 2009.

Discovering some projects had overshot their budget, they allegedly asked the contractors to pay bribes to the team leader, Quyen, to look the other way.

In its official reports the team then reduced the amount by which the projects had to cut their costs.

On August 14, 2010, the team was caught red-handed at a local hotel while receiving a bribe. But by then it had taken VND680 million in just one month, according to prosecutors.

In return for VND500 million, the inspectors allegedly reduced the recommended expenditure cut by a whopping VND6 billion ($288,500) to VND1.7 billion for the Quang Ngai Construction Project Management Board.

For VND200 million, it reduced the amount from VND5 billion to VND240 million for the Son Tay District Project Management Board.

There has been no mentioning about if the overspending was suspected of a corruption case.

The trial is scheduled to last three days.

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