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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 11:34 GMT
Former Vietnam ministers on trial
The trial has started in Vietnam of two former ministers charged with corruption.

The men, Nguyen Thien Luan and Nguyen Quang Ha, previously junior ministers in the agriculture department, are accused of embezzling about $7.5m.

The two men are the latest senior government officials to be implicated in a major corruption scandal.

If found guilty, they face up to 12 years in prison.

They are accused, along with six other government employees, of embezzlement, abusing power and intentional wrongdoing.

The case centres on the director of a company, La Thi Kim Oanh, run by the agriculture ministry. She is accused of using bank loans for bribery and personal expenses.

The two former ministers are charged with signing documents helping her to obtain the money. She then defaulted on nearly $5m worth of loans.

The opening of the trial was broadcast live on national television, the second time this year that a corruption case against senior officials has been televised.

The ruling Communist party has made fighting corruption one of its top priorities in an effort to win the confidence of foreign investors. Many say red tape and officials who take bribes are major obstacles to doing business in Vietnam.




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