Updated : 06/23/2017 17:05 GMT + 7
A group of former traffic inspectors in Can Tho City in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region previously arrested for demanding ‘protection money’ from local businesses claim the cash was used to ‘buy’ promotions.
At a trial held for seven of the corrupt traffic inspectors at the municipal People’s Court on Thursday, some of the defendants admitted that the extortion money was used to pay for job promotions.
Duong Minh Tam, a former deputy chief traffic inspector in Can Tho, said he spent VND370 million (US$16,240) for his position.
The admission clarified a previous question from Judge Nguyen Van Trinh as to why Tam, despite being the youngest of the suspects, had the fastest and furthest career advancement.
Tam also admitted that the money was directed to Truong Van Phuc, the chief traffic inspector at the Can Tho Department of Transport.
Similarly, Vo Hoang Anh, ex-chief of the traffic inspection unit in Ninh Kieu District, revealed that he paid PhucVND350 million ($15,362) for his promotion, though Anh claimed that no evidence exists of the transfer since the money was given to Phuc at his private residence.
At the end of the trial, the jury agreed with the People’s Procuracy’s request to halt legal proceedings until a new indictment could be established with the newly presented information taken into account.
Duong Minh Tam, former deputy chief traffic inspector, speaks at the trial on June 22, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
During a phone call with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the afternoon of the same day, Phuc refuted Tam and Anh’s testimonies.
According to the previous indictment, Tam and Anh, along with Doan Vu Duy, Ly Hoang Minh, Nguyen Tran Luu, Ho Cong Thien, and Tran Lap Phap, all former officials at traffic inspection units in Can Tho, were charged with forcing local businesses to pay ‘protection fees’ so that their firm’s vehicles would not be fined for traffic violations.
Nguyen Van Can and Tran Tuong An were also charged for acting as intermediaries in the violation.
Several victims filed a report denouncing the corruption in January 2016.
In July of the same year, officers caught Minh red-handed receiving bribes from a local company.
The other suspects were nabbed between July and September last year.
Evidence showed that the former traffic inspectors had pocketed a combined VND4 billion ($175,573).