10/22/2005, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Hanoi anti-corruption head arrested over bribery charges

The arrest comes as a government campaign seeks to clamp down on rampant corruption. The man received money and land to falsify reports of investigations into a government oil company.

Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Luong Cao Khai, the head of Vietnam's anti-corruption inspection taskforce and deputy director of the government's Inspection Department, was arrested at his Hanoi home on Thursday, 20 October. The man was charged with corruption and abuse of his office. This was announced yesterday by public security sources in an embarrassing defeat for the government's struggle against rampant graft. Prime Minister Phan Van Khai immediately substituted the accused.

Luong had been charged with the responsibility of investigating the activities of the state-owned company PetroVietnam between 2002 and 2003, however he did not find any evidence of corruption. Further inquiry revealed a series of grave management errors.

A local newspaper reported: "He is accused of receiving money and land from some oil and gas officials to use for private purposes and abusing his position to provide his relatives with jobs in the sector." After accepting the bribe, Luong modified the results of the investigation to lessen the gravity of wrongdoings committed by the company.

On Wednesday 19 October, seven gas and oil officials were committed to sentences ranging from four years to life in imprisonment for having falsified a contract of 17 million dollars. The illegal operation led to the loss of millions of dollars worth of income for the government.

The Communist regime of Hanoi maintains that it wants to eradicate corruption inherent in governmental and state sectors. However, some critics say many party and government leaders have managed to evade judicial persecution notwithstanding accusations that they amassed personal fortunes through illegal means.

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