Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The nation’s main prosecuting agency, Supreme People’s Procuracy, has announced it is indicting former National Assembly deputy Châu Thị Thu Nga for her role in a VNĐ377 billion (US$16.6 million) real estate scam.
Nga, Chairwoman of the Land and Housing Construction and Investment JSC (Housing Group), and eight other people, all from the same group, will be prosecuted on charges of “fraudulent appropriation of assets,” under Article 139 of the Penal Code.
According to the indictment, the B5 Cầu Diễn project (North Từ Liêm District, Hà Nội City) was within the land assigned by the state to the Hà Nội Import-Export Investment Construction and Development Single-Member Co., Ltd. (HAIC) for production and business activities.
It was a resettlement housing project to serve urban traffic development of the capital city, not for commercial housing.
However, Nga signed a partnership contract with Nguyễn Văn Tuẫn, HAIC Chairman, to co-invest in the B5 project.
The two intended to convert the B5 land to apartment buildings and villas.
The investigation found that the new plans for the project had not been granted a construction licence by the Hà Nội People’s Committee, but the group lured unsuspecting buyers for commercial housing through false advertisements.
Between 2009 and 2013, by showing unapproved drawings of the apartments, Nga and other accomplices signed some 752 capital contribution contracts, collecting VNĐ377 billion from home buyers, with a promise to transfer usage rights for 752 apartments from 2nd to the 33rd floor in a residential complex.
Nga returned some VNĐ29 billion ($1.26 million) to buyers who withdrew from the project, but was unable to repay the remaining VNĐ348 billion ($15.4 million) because it had already been spent.
Following many complaints from buyers who had not seen any construction progress for the apartments they’d purchased, Nga was arrested and her house raided in January 2015 by police from the Ministry of Public Security.
The same day, the National Assembly Standing Committee issued a resolution suspending the duties and rights of Nga as a parliamentary deputy.
In a related development, National Assembly General Secretary Nguyễn Hạnh Phúc had said last September that immediate investigation was needed into allegations that Nga had “bought her way into the National Assembly” for $1.5 million, saying that it was “truly shocking,” if true.
Prior to Nga’s arrest, HAIC Chairman Tuấn had been detained on charges of “deliberately acting against the State’s regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.” – VNS