A fugitive Vietnamese businesswoman was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Thursday, her second sentence in absentia as the country’s communist authorities push on with an anti-corruption purge.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan, former chairwoman of Advanced International Joint Stock Company (AIC), was charged with conspiring with local officials to forge bidding documents for the purchase of medical equipment at a hospital in Quang Ninh province.
The court found her guilty of the “violation of bidding regulations, causing serious consequences”.
Thirteen others were handed sentences — ranging from a 30-month suspended sentence to seven years in jail — on the same charge.
Nhan, 54, has fled Vietnam, and her whereabouts remain unconfirmed. In August, a German newspaper reported that she had escaped to Germany.
Vietnamese police have issued an international arrest warrant.
In January, Nhan was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a corruption case related to equipment procurement at a hospital project in Dong Nai province.
She was put on trial alongside 35 other defendants.
The Hanoi court said Nhan’s company had paid $1.8 million in bribes to state officials to win contracts worth more than $28 million for supplying medical equipment to the hospital in early 2013.
AIC, a Hanoi-based firm, was among Vietnam’s largest enterprises, according to state media, with a turnover reaching $400 million in 2012.
In 2018 Nhan received a Japanese government honour, the Order of the Rising Sun, for her contribution in the field of healthcare between Japan and Vietnam.
The all-powerful Communist Party’s anti-graft purge, led by Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong, has escalated in recent years. More than 3,500 people have been indicted across more than 1,300 corruption cases since 2021.
In November last year, Trong said: “Even those criminals that have escaped to foreign countries must be subject to investigation, prosecution and trial. They will not escape punishment.”
In 2016, Trinh Xuan Thanh, the former head of a state-linked construction firm, fled Vietnam after he fell under the cross-hairs of the corruption crusade.
He sought asylum in Germany, but was kidnapped from a Berlin park and spirited away back to Vietnam.
He was later jailed for life for embezzlement.
Source: The Peninsula Qatar