Corrupt customs officer gets 12 years behind bars in Ho Chi Minh City

By Hai Duyen   April 11, 2018 | 01:02 am PT
Corrupt customs officer gets 12 years behind bars in Ho Chi Minh City
Nguyen Tuong Duy stands in court in Ho Chi Minh City for bribery charges. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Duyen
The officer refused to plead guilty, saying the $42,000 police seized came from donations for his sister's funeral.

A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a customs officer to 12 years in prison on Tuesday for accepting bribes.

Nguyen Tuong Duy, 50, was found guilty of taking VND964 million ($42,000) from businesses in the city.

He was initially prosecuted for abuse of power, but the charge was upgraded to accepting bribes.

Duy is believed to have threatened firms and abused his power as a product controler dealing with trade fraud and trafficking at Cat Lai Port and Linh Trung Export Processing Zone.

The disgraced officer refused to plead guilty but was convicted after the court deemed the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Police seized 64 envelopes containing money from his mother’s home in December 2015, 40 of which were identified as coming from 50 local companies.

An investigation discovered that since 2014, Duy had been making life difficult for companies to clear their goods through customs by delaying procedures and forcing them to pay from VND2 million to VND5 million ($87 to $220) to smooth the way.

Duy said in court that he had no knowledge of where most of the money had come from, claiming that some local firms had offered him money for his sister’s funeral.

Bui Thanh Chung, vice director of customs control and Duy’s senior, defended Duy by saying that at his level, Duy did not have access to trade information and would therefore have been unable to blackmail local firms. However, Chung is also under suspicion in the case.

As part of the verdict, the court also ruled that the money should be confiscated.

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