Was health official bribed by hospital contractor?

By Hoang Phuong, Thanh Nien News

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Trucks filling land at a site to build the Moc Hoa Area General Hospital in Long An Province. Photo: Hoang Phuong Trucks filling land at a site to build the Moc Hoa Area General Hospital in Long An Province. Photo: Hoang Phuong

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Long An authorities are verifying accusations that a contractor building a hospital, who is also the brother of the province chief, tried to bribe the director of the health department who had been opposed to the construction.
Le Thanh Liem said Do Huu Quan gave him VND400 million (US$17,800) but “I refused to keep [the money] and said I would hand it over to my office.”
He said he later found out that Quan was a shareholder in Huynh Luong Company, which landfilled the site of the Moc Hoa Area General Hospital in Kien Tuong town.
According to Liem, his agency, which is building the hospital, handed over VND4 billion to the contractor on December 10, 2014, before Quan came to his house to offer the bribe.
A receipt issued by the Long An Department of Health shows Liem paid in the said amount with the narration “money supported by Do Huu Quan."
“On December 22, after handing in the money to my office, I phoned [Quan] to inform him about it,” he said.
A receipt issued by the Long An Department of Health and seen by Thanh Nien shows Liem paid in the said amount with the narration “money supported by Do Huu Quan.”
Speaking to journalists, Quan denied giving Liem any money.
Shady project
Liem said he, local officials, and residents have been opposing the hospital project because it is situated in a low area and far from the town.
“If the hospital is to be built there, the landfill cost will be very high."
Yet the hospital was approved, and Liem's agency was tasked with its construction.
Huynh Luong Company landfilled the site for VND19 billion ($844,740), Liem said.
The project has been under investigation since April but no details have been revealed ever since.
On September 3 Tran Thi Nhanh, deputy chairwoman of Long An People’s Committee, said the inspection results would be handed over to the police for further investigation.
Do Huu Lam, the provincial chairman, admitted that Quan was his brother.
"This issue is very sensitive; so let the investigation agency do its job!" he said.

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