Corruption in building public restrooms and story of corrupt officials in Vietnam

At the facility, grabbing even the toilet

We refer to the average price to build a public toilet, listed by a construction contractor in Vietnam as follows: With public toilets, construction time will last from 5-7 days and labor costs will also fall in the range of VND5 million-VND7 million. The cost of buying wall tiles will range from VND1 million-VND3 million. The cost of building a septic tank is about VND 2-VND3 million. Toilets cost about VND2.5 million. Lavabo is about VND1 million. Summarizing all costs, building a toilet ranges from VND10.5 milion to VND25 million. If the contract for a public toilet is VND50 million, it is already a lucrative contract.

That is the comment of a private contractor. To be objective, we survey small contractors, often building small townhouses, not the prices of contractors specializing in public works. Because we know, contractors who receive state works, especially the type of appointed bidding, often receive very high prices. In that high price, they do not corrupt alone, but they have to give high commission to the person who appointed the contractor for them. It was a handshake game to corrupt in public projects.

When we asked about the case where the People’s Committee of Ea Nuol commune, Buon Don district, Dak Lak province, built 8 toilets for VND200 million/unit, the contractor said, in this case, local officials may have received a kickback of about VND1.2 billion out of a total of the approved sum of VND1.6 billion. This person further explained, their officials are very good, they know how much the real price of the work is. With this contract, the price is only about VND25 million/unit, the contractor will accept it. So, at the most, the contractor will only receive VND50 million/unit. Of which, VND25 million is the construction cost, and the other VND25 million is considered as a “silent” fee. Those are lucrative bid packages, not everyone gets in.

High commission from 75% to 80% of the contract value is a terrible number. This number is not exaggerated at all, but it is actually happening. Remember, in 2016, the online community reacted strongly to the funding that the Hanoi People’s Committee approved to cut grass, amounting to more than VND800 billion. After that, seeing that it was impossible to overtake the people, the city government reduced it to VND178 billion while the workload did not decrease. That is, in this project, officials can receive commission up to 78% of the total contract value. Things like this happen every day, and very few of them go undetected.

10 years ago, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Doan, then Vice President of the country, had to exclaim, “The money of ethnic minority children was also embezzled to nearly VND3 billion, a dose of vaccine for one child they use for two children… the more I went, the sadder I became, corruption is everywhere.” That was the comment of a Communist official, a Vice President of the country, not a “slanderous reactionary.” The essence of this regime is that, is to corrupt from the public funds in all activities.

Recently, the Hanoi city government set up a project to remake the hydrological system of the An Duong Vuong period and the Kinh Thien Palace of the Later Le Dynasty (which was demolished by the Nguyen Dynasty). This project has a total cost of up to VND3.28 trillion. It is worth mentioning here that the fakes are for nothing, but cost a huge of money. However, according to some people familiar with the matter, this is a drawing project, they draw to corrupt from public money. And then, if this project is abandoned, they don’t care.

A museum worth VND2.3 trillion with the shape of a pyramid with its head stuck in the ground, is a useless building for the people. But with current officials, they find that their predecessors enjoy too much in this project. Now that they don’t draw any works to make money, it seems that they are not equal to their predecessors in corrupting public funds. And that’s why useless constructions keep popping up. (Translated)