NBC Evening News for Sunday, Mar 19, 1972
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(Studio) North Vietnam attack South Vietnam air base SW of Hue. 425 Vietnam soldiers wounded. ARVN forces now bear full load of ground war.
REPORTER: Garrick Utley
(Saigon, South Vietnam) Since 1968, each man in million-man South Vietnam army obligated to contribute 100 piasters (25 cents) per month to serviceman's mutual aid and savings fund. Fund is supposed to pay servicemen benefits upon leaving military, but critics say money being used by private businessmen and high-ranking defense ministry officials. Fund takes in over $3 million a year Most money used by military bank, which pays 12% interest to servicemen, but bank invests where money gains 21% and loans this money, charging 24%. Soldiers man bank as tellers and guards, providing cheap labor. New building under construction. Bank owns control of many businesses from food to textiles. Fund has become a scandal, as private business cannot compete with military, and soldiers leaving military sometimes can't obtain benefits. president Thieu to stop collections and order investigation.
REPORTER: Arthur Lord