Transport Ministry coordinates in investigation of rescue flight-related bribery case

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The Transport Ministry said that Investigation Police Agency has asked the ministry to provide a list of “rescue” flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transport Ministry coordinates in investigation of rescue flight-related bribery case

Passengers on board a repatriation flight

The Ministry of Transport announced that it had directed relevant agencies to provide information and documents related to the flights repatriating Vietnamese citizens from abroad to the Investigation Police Agency to serve the investigation into the “taking bribery” case at the Consular Department.

In its statement released on February 19, the ministry said repatriation flights were carried out as the Party and State wanted to help Vietnamese stranded overseas with disadvantaged circumstances and demand for getting home amid COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Transport Ministry has worked closely with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Public Security Ministry, the Health Ministry, and the Defence Ministry to conduct these flights, as assigned by the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

The Transport Ministry was responsible for directing the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to issue flight permits and flight service plans for the repatriation flights according to the Citizen Rescue Plan approved by the Consular Department on the basis of consensus among relevant ministries and agencies, according to the statement.

“This is a mandatory procedure under aviation law and international practice for all flights,” it noted.

In addition, the CAAV was in charge of informing and guiding airlines, domestic and foreign air traffic service providers, and airport operators in carrying out flight plans as well as COVID-19 regulations on flights and at airports, the statement reads.

Evaluating the demands of Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas, making the final list of approved passengers on these flights, licensing businesses to operate ‘combo’ or ‘rescue’ flights were not the tasks that the Transport Ministry were assigned, it claimed. It has been working closely and responsibly to facilitate the flights to meet the demands of the Vietnamese citizens overseas.

The Transport Ministry said that Investigation Police Agency has asked the ministry to provide a list of “rescue” flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was requested to direct units to provide the names of airlines, flight numbers, take-off and landing airports as well as aviation businesses that were authorised to operate these flights, the agency said in a document sent to the ministry.

The list of citizens returning from abroad on repatriation flights and contracts, payment costs of each flight, and conditions for citizens to return home should be clarified.

The agency also asked the Transport Ministry to hand over a list of individuals who are working at the ministry in charge of approving airlines and businesses that conducted “combo” (with fees paid by the passengers) and “rescue” flights which were free of charge.

Earlier, the Investigation Police Agency started legal proceedings against and arrested four high-ranking officials of the Consular Department for “taking bribes” in line with Article 354 of the Penal Code.

The four are Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, born in 1974, head of the Consular Department; Do Hoang Tung, born in 1980, deputy head of the department; Le Tuan Anh, born in 1982, chief of the department’s office; and Luu Tuan Dung, born in 1987, deputy head of the citizen protection desk at the department.

They are accused of seeking personal gain in licensing some companies that organised special flights to take Vietnamese citizens abroad home from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with countries around the world enforcing various degrees of border closures.

Source: VNA

The Investigation Security Agency has prosecuted a case of taking bribes at the Consular Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while licensing the firms that conducted repatriation flights for Vietnamese people.

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