I Guess Vietnam Has a Few Abramoffs

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Guess Vietnam Has a Few Abramoffs

The Vietnamese Communist Party's 10th party congress has gathered in Hanoi this week amid the aftermath of the PMU 18 scandal, named for the government agency that is charged with building highways, bridges and other infrastructure.

The scandal emerged when news broke that several administrators in this agency had been skimming millions of dollars from public projects and taking kickbacks from contractors. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP):
Some of the (skimmed) money was used to buy property and to bet on top English and Spanish league football matches.

Transport Minister Dao Dinh Binh was forced to resign and his deputy minister Nguyen Viet Tien was arrested.
Surprisingly, much of the public's outrage over the PMU 18 scandal has been fueled by the media. That wouldn't be noteworthy in most western countries, but Vietnam's media is state-controlled.

According to AFP: "State media has been unusually aggressive on the corruption issue in recent weeks, openly accusing relatives of top officials of involvement in the scam."

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