Monday , April 22 2024

Vietnam Register chief arrested for corruption

Dang Viet Ha, director of the Vietnam Register, has been arrested for allegedly taking bribes from registration centers across the country to ignore violations.

Police arrested the 51-year-old on Wednesday when he was visiting Ho Chi Minh City following a raid on the Vietnam Register’s headquarters in Hanoi last week.

They have also detained Tran Anh Quan, acting head of the motor vehicle inspection department, deputy head Dang Tran Khanh and registrar Pham Duc Ngoc.

Senior Colonel Tran Thi Kim Ly, head of investigation at the HCMC Police Department, said local police and officers from the Ministry of Public Security have inspected a number of registration centers in the city and the nearby provinces of Long An, Tien Giang, Soc Trang, Dong Thap, Ben Tre, and the northern provinces of Bac Giang and Bac Ninh.

They have seized documents and electronic data on suspicion of violations related to certification, technical safety inspection and emissions control.

Eighty four people, including 80 officials and registrars, have been taken in for “bribery” and “forgery of documents” and 29 centers have been closed pending investigation.

Preliminary investigation has found that anyone seeking to set up a registration center has to bribe officials at the Vietnam Register.

Then, to operate without being fear of inspections by authorities, the centers have to bribe Ha and other officials “every month and every quarter,” according to the police.

It is not known how much these regular bribes run into.

In turn, the centers take bribes from vehicle owners to overlook violations of regulations.

Before 2019 all vehicle registration centers were state agencies. Then the government allowed private operators to set them up if they met certain conditions imposed by the Ministry of Transport.

Police estimated that owners of around 70,000 vehicles have paid bribes.

The centers have issued 52,300 emissions control certificates without properly inspecting vehicles, they said, adding they have pocketed tens of billions of dong in bribes (VND1 billion = US$43,000).

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