Vietnam jails ex-officials over rusty war monument

18th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Six former officials in Vietnam have been jailed for corruption in connection with a sub-standard monument to the country's wartime victory against French colonialists, state media said Tuesday.

The statue developed cracks and began rusting after it was unveiled in 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of France's 1954 defeat at Dien Bien Phu, sparking an investigation, the Vietnam News reported.

It said the six -- who were jailed for between 24 and 44 months after a trial that ended Monday in Dien Bien province -- were accused of embezzling 8.3 billion dong ($415,000) by skimping on bronze in the construction.

Among those jailed were Luong Phuong Cac, former deputy director of the province's culture department, and Nguyen Duc Sung, who headed the industrial design faculty at a Hanoi university.

The head of the court could not be immediately reached by AFP for comment.

Vietnam is rated as one of the world's most corrupt nations.

Ordinary Vietnamese have called for greater efforts against graft, and the country's communist leaders vowed last week at their five-yearly party congress to tackle the problem more forcefully.

© 2011 AFP

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