Garment firm tells court bribing officials was sole option

HCM City. Mar 15, 2007. At a trial in Vietnam of 14 people including an ex-deputy trade minister for bribery involving quota allocations, an entrepreneur said Wednesday she had been forced to bribe officials or face great losses.

Tran Thu Lan, deputy director of the Asian Trade and Garment Company Limited in Ho Chi Minh City told the HCMC First Instance Court during the second day of the high-profile trial that she had handed US$ 17,000 to Le Van Thang, ex-deputy director of the trade ministry’s Import-export Department, and many thousands of dollars to two other officials several years ago.

Another businessperson, said he had earlier spent tens of thousands of dollars in a vain attempt to glean quotas before he met Nguyen Cuong, then vice head of the city Export Processing and Industrial Zones Authority – who was finally able to help him.

Hung said he gave Cuong $ 18,000 after which the latter introduced him to former deputy minister of trade Mai Van Dau, 65 who finally agreed to allocate quotas to him. Hung later lent Cuong $ 30,000 but the debt has not been settled.

Dau is being tried for taking $6,000 in bribes although Cuong earlier claimed he personally handed him $ 38,000.

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