Monday , June 24 2024

Former deputy foreign minister to face bribery trial


Former deputy foreign minister To Anh Dung will go on trial July 11 for allegedly receiving VND21.5 billion ($914,000) in bribes to arrange Covid-19 repatriation flights.

Dung and 53 other accomplices are expected to stand trial for a month, the Hanoi People’s Court has announced.

Dung, 59, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Nguyen Quang Linh, former assistant to the Deputy Prime Minister, have both been charged with receiving bribes.

Another 52 accomplices, including 19 former government officials, have been charged with giving, receiving and facilitating bribes, as well as fraud and abuse of power.

In April 2020, the government began repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens abroad back home during the pandemic.

Businesses that wanted to organize flights to bring people back had to receive approval from authorities. Applications needed to be sent to the foreign affairs ministry, where several units would evaluate them.

From 2020 to 2021, authorities approved and organized over 1,000 flights, bringing over 200,000 citizens back home from 62 countries and territories. The foreign ministry alone asked the government to approve 772 flights to bring citizens home.

Some 20 businesses and over 100 legal entities have been accused of taking advantage of the situation by raising ticket prices and increasing costs for those who wanted to return to Vietnam during the pandemic. These entities allegedly said the higher expenses were to “smoothen the process.”

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