Vietnamese tax officials sent to prison for taking bribes

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Tran Van Bau, an tax official from Ho Chi Minh City, was given a four year prison sentence July 18 after being convicted of demanding bribes from a violating company. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Three tax officials in Ho Chi Minh City were sentenced Thursday to a maximum of four years in prison for demanding and receiving bribes totaling VND56 million (US$2,640). 

Tran Van Bau, 48, head of an inspection team of the District 1 Tax Department, was punished with four years for receiving the biggest sum of VND48 million, while Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy got three years and Hoang Dinh Thuan two years for taking VND4 million each, according to a Tuoi Tre report.

The three during an inspection last August found that a company had made various violations in printing and issuing receipts.

They filled out a report at the end of the inspection, and asked the company's accountant to pay them VND6 million "for lunch."

Thuan, 33, took the money and shared it with Thuy, 44, who two weeks later summoned the company's deputy director, only identified as L.Q.D., and asked him to hand over an additional VND10 million she said would speed up the procedure and reduce the punishment.

She shared VND1 million with Thuan and gave VND8 million to Bau, deciding to fine the company VND25.1 million, which required Bau's signature to take effect.

Bau then asked the deputy director to give him more money, saying the violations warranted a fine of VND100 million in cash, plus possible criminal charges for the director.

D. gave Bau more money on two other occasions, recoding their conservation as evidence for the police.

Bau was caught red-handed as he received VND10 million last September.

The three were charged with taking bribes, and criticized for undermining the public's confidence in government management.

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