Wednesday , February 8 2023

Two former diplomats added to pandemic flight graft investigation


Two former Vietnamese embassy officials and an aviation official are among seven people placed under investigation Sunday for corruption related to repatriation flights organized during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two officers placed under investigation for accepting bribes related to the repatriation flights are Ly Tien Hung and Vu Ngoc Minh, who worked with the Vietnamese embassy in Russia and Angola, respectively.

Vu Hoang Quang, deputy head of the air transportation unit under the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is the third person being investigated in the case.

Investigation also began Sunday into three other individuals for paying bribes: Dao Minh Duong, chairman of transportation firm Vijasun, Nguyen The Dung, CEO of tourism and commerce firm Sang Trong, and Nguyen Thi Hien, a freelancer.

Pham Thi Kim Ngan, an officer with the Government Inspectorate, is suspected of connecting the bribe takers with givers.

(From L) Vu Hong Quang, Le Tien Hung, Nguyen Thi Hien, Dao Minh Duong and Pham Thi Kim Ngan. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

(From L) Vu Hong Quang, Le Tien Hung, Nguyen Thi Hien, Dao Minh Duong and Pham Thi Kim Ngan. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

After nearly 10 months of investigation, nearly 30 people, including very senior officials in a number of ministries and other government agencies, have been arrested in the case.

Preliminary investigations have found that several companies bribed officials to get permission to organize repatriation flights, and then charged passengers a lot of money for the service.

Among those being investigated for accepting bribes are former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung, former general director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ consular department, Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, Nguyen Quang Linh, and top diplomats based in Vietnam and overseas.

Vietnam had operated around 400 repatriation flights to bring home residents stranded overseas.

The public security ministry had said in June that each repatriation flight organized during the pandemic fetched profits of several billion dong (VND1 billion = $43,600).

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