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Government Office specialist arrested in repatriation flight bribery scandal

By Pham Du   August 18, 2022 | 05:45 am PT
An international relations specialist at the Government Office has been detained for allegedly accepting bribes while organizing Covid-19 repatriation flights.

Nguyen Tien Than, 42, was the 17th official arrested in the eight months since the investigation into the repatriation flight scandal was expanded, To An Xo, spokesman of the Ministry of Public Security, said Thursday.

Nguyen Tien Than, an international relations specialist at the Government Office. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

Nguyen Tien Than, an international relations specialist at the Government Office. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security

Vietnam had operated around 2,000 repatriation flights to bring home residents stranded overseas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But many people had to buy very expensive tickets and complete complicated procedures to get a seat on the repatriation flights.

Investigations found many officials and business leaders had taken advantage of the repatriation policy to make money illegally.

Vietnamese citizens on a repatriation flight from Singapore, May 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines

Vietnamese citizens on a repatriation flight from Singapore, May 31, 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines

Each repatriation flight organized during the Covid-19 pandemic earned profits of several billion Vietnamese dong (VND1 billion = $42,750) after deducting costs, according to the public security ministry.

So far, a number of top officials in the ministries of foreign affairs, health, transport, public security, the Government Office and tourism firm directors have been arrested for their involvement in graft related to organizing the repatriation flights.

To Anh Dung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, was arrested in April.

 
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