06/04/2015 15:46 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Ministry clarifies POSCO E&C issues

Hanoi, April 6 (VNA) – The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has not received any official information relating to news reports that steelmaker POSCO Engineering and Construction (E&C) of the Republic of Korea was implicated in the creation of a slush fund in a construction project in Vietnam, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong has said.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency reporter about the issue, the Deputy Transport Minister said the MoT only knew what the foreign media had reported.

RoK media and some Vietnamese newspapers have recently carried a number of headlines about the arrest of a former POSCO E&C executive. He is suspected to have created a slush fund to pay sub-constructors between 2009 and 2012, when he was leading the Vietnam project as its overseas unit chief.

Deputy Minister Truong said that POSCO E&C was in charge of three construction packages of the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, which was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He said that all bids for the 1.2 billion USD expressway's eight construction packages, which were implemented between 2009 and 2014, were held following international regulations and supervised by international donors.

"All processes were implemented and inspected carefully. The State Inspectorate has also studied the projects and is yet to find anything suspicious," he said.

The MoT has not interfered into payment methods between the contractor and its sub-contractors given these are their rights, the Deputy Minister said.

He affirmed that the Vietnamese Government has paid special attention to the combat against corruption in State agencies.

The MoT has asked the Vietnam Expressway Corporation, which was tasked to act as the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway project developer and manager, to check all contracts and payment-related regulations involving POSCO-involved construction packages and make them available when needed.

Earlier, Korean media said a number of POSCO executives managing construction units in the expressway project had established a slush fund worth about 200 billion VND by shaking hands with local sub-contractors to exaggerate construction cost during the 2009-2012 period.