HCMC probes bribery allegations for highway project

Japan’s Yomiuri Newspaper quoted a source from Japanese company Pacific Consultants International (PCI) as saying the manager of PCI’s Hanoi office and a former company executive allegedly handed over around US$ 200,000 to officials managing the East-West Highway project.

The money served as “remuneration” after a consortium comprising PCI and other firms won consultancy contracts for the project in fiscal years 2001 and 2003, Yomiuri reported.

The People’s Committee said it had asked the PMU to provide a formal explanation concerning the allegation.

The PMU, however, announced last week that the selection of contractors had adhered to local regulations and donors’ requirements.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office is investigating the alleged bribes under the suspicion that they constitute a violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which bans the bribing of overseas public servants.

The prosecutors have requested Vietnamese judicial authorities to cooperate in the investigation.

The East-West Highway project is expected to finish in the first quarter of 2010 with an investment of VND9.8 trillion ($581.6 million), funded by Japanese official development assistance.

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