Part 1 of the ‘Unraveling Corruption in Vietnam’ series
In a momentous turn of events on August 15, 2023, Vietnam fully reopened its doors to the world, having declared COVID-19 a “manageable disease.” But the lingering question that international observers couldn’t help but ask was, “What took Vietnam so long?” The answer lies in the complex web of corruption that had engulfed the nation during the chartered flights COVID repatriation case, resulting in extended delays and dire consequences.
In summary, the case is about a US$100Mio extortionate onboarding fees, shared by 8 ministry officials and related, 2000 flights over 2 years to investigate, causing the freeze and incarceration of immigration police, Vietnam airlines, tourism and of course the Ministry of Foreign affairs diplomat employees.
Part 1: Corruption Hindering Repatriation Efforts
Vietnam’s triumphant reopening was marred by a corruption scandal of epic proportions, stemming from the COVID repatriation chartered flights. For 15 long months, this case had plagued the nation, culminating in exemplary sentences of over 12 years in jail and even death penalties.
Extortionate Toll Fee Onboarding Vietnamese Covid Repatriation Flights
Vietnam’s authorities, under the banner of their “nobody’s left behind” campaign during the pandemic, imposed an exorbitant fee of VND 150 million to board Vietnam Airlines’ chartered flights. Shockingly, a gang of opportunistic Ministry officials omitted this fee, thus exploiting the vulnerable repatriation process.
A Shocking Twist in the COVID Repatriation Saga
Victims, eager to return to their homeland, found themselves compelled to pay a “coffee money” fee to secure their place on these flights. In this distressing situation, they unwittingly became accomplices in the crime. The court officials handling these cases often harbored biases toward the rogue officials, as they feared that they could face accusations themselves. The corruptors, out of necessity, became instigators of the crime.
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