HCMC official reports USD$77,000 stolen from office

A Ho Chi Minh City official has come under fire this week after reporting the theft of over USD$70,000 in cash from his office. Dao Anh Kiet, director of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment, claimed that his “life savings” were pilfered from a locked drawer at his desk. With few details available regarding the case, rumours have since grown around the origins of the money. Some have accused the official of taking bribes to earn the stolen cash, some of which was in American currency. For his part, Kiet vehemently denies the allegations and has urged reporters not to publicize the case. According to a 2012 study by the Government Inspectorate and the World Bank, nearly 79 percent of the 2,000 officials surveyed admitted to earning money from “unofficial” sources. Though the vast majority claimed that their additional earnings amounted to no more than half of their usual salary, nearly 20 percent noted that their extra income was over half of their normal salary, with some claiming to receive as much as five times their official earnings.