Vietnam senior official, accused of receiving $510,000 in bribes, dies of cancer

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Senior Lieutenant General Pham Quy Ngo

Deputy Minister of Public Security Pham Quy Ngo, accused of receiving US$510,000 in bribes at a recent high-profile corruption trial, died of cancer at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

Senior Lieutenant General Ngo, a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee, was undergoing treatment for liver cancer at the 108 Military Hospital in Hanoi, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

He headed a team that investigated wrongdoings which resulted in losses of billions of dollars to the state exchequer at the state-owned shipping group Vinalines .

On January 7,  former Vinalines chairman Duong Chi Dung, who was arrested after fleeing the country and sentenced to death last December for embezzlement, alleged that Tho had tipped him of the arrest in advance in return for two payments totaling US$510,000.

Dung made the accusation when deposing at the trial of seven people, including his brother Duong Tu Trong, the dismissed deputy director of the northern city of Hai Phong’s police force, who was accused of helping him flee Vietnam in May 2012.

Trong was sentenced to 18 years, while the other six defendants got 5-13 years, after being found guilty of “organizing illegal transportation of people to other countries.”

The court also ordered an investigation into Dung’s accusations.

In response to Dung's accusation, Ngo had told online newspaper Dan Viet in a telephone interview the same day that he was not involved in former's escape and that the police need to clarify the matter.

Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Central Interior Committee that advises the Party on anti-corruption policies, said that “there are some opinions” proposing the suspension of Ngo pending investigations into the allegations against him, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper (Laborer) reported Monday.

Tuoi Tre on February 15 had quoted an unnamed source from Tuan’s agency as saying the committee has been appointed by the Party Secretariat to deal with Dung’s accusation, including supervising and urging relevant agencies to facilitate judicial processes in the case.

Ngo, 60, was born in the northern province of Thai Binh. He lived with his family at the posh Pacific Place apartment in downtown Hanoi.

He graduated from the People’s Police University and joined the Party in 1980.

He headed the Thai Binh Police Department before being appointed deputy director of General Police Department and later, in 2006, chief investigator at the Ministry of Public Security.

He was appointed deputy minister of public security in 2010.

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