Korean prosecutors arrested the ex-executive identified as Park around two weeks ago without a warrant for taking away funds from the expressway project, according to a news report which The Korea Herald posted on its website (www.koreaherald.com).
Park is suspected of having set up slush funds totaling around 10 billion won and embezzling four billion won of the amount between 2009 and 2012 when he was leading the project of POSCO E&C, says the report.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport told a media conference in Hanoi last Friday that POSCO E&C had been awarded a couple of contract packages in the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway project in northern Vietnam, such as A1, A2 and A3. The Korean firm had also won contract packages 3 and 5A in the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giau Expressway project in southern Vietnam.
The two expressways have already been opened to traffic.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong told the assembled reporters that competitive tenders for those packages had been held in line with international practices and scrutinized by donors. These tenders helped take the costs of the packages down by at least 15% or 30% at most compared to initial estimates, he noted.
Regarding the Korean news reports that the POSCO E&C unit had established slush funds to pay for subcontractors, Truong said his ministry had yet to receive any official information from both Korean authorities and POSCO E&C over this allegation.
“Under the contract terms, how the main contractor and its subcontractors settled payments rested with the main contractor. The Ministry of Transport did not intervene,” he said.
The Korean media reported Chung Joon-yang, ex-chairman and ex-chief executive officer of POSCO, and incumbent and former executives of the firm have been barred from traveling abroad since last month to facilitate an ongoing investigation.
POSCO executives who were leading the group’s units in Southeast Asia, including in Vietnam, have been accused of setting up slush funds.
The former director of POSCO E&C Vietnam is alleged to have played a key role in establishing slush funds in Vietnam.
The POSCO E&C case has hit local headlines while the Japan Transportation Consultants, Inc.’s giving bribes to Vietnamese officials in a railway project is still fresh in the mind of the Vietnamese public.
The Japanese railway consulting firm paid about 130 million yen in kickbacks to foreign civil servants from Vietnam, Indonesia and Uzbekistan from 2008 to 2012 in return for orders it received to carry out projects funded by Japan’s official development assistance in these countries.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has recently requested Vietnam to return all the amount disbursed for the consulting contract awarded to JTC in the urban railway project No. 1 in Hanoi. But Deputy Minister Truong said the investigation is still underway, so this matter would be decided when the probe is complete.
The railway project management unit and Vietnam Railways Corporation have been tasked with reviewing the contract and reporting to the Ministry of Transport and then the Government for resolution, he said.
Đăng ký: VietNam News