Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Defendants in the first-instance trial on several charges of wrongdoings at the State-owned oil PetroVietnam (PVN) group made final statements at the court on Wednesday, expressing regrets and asking for leniency from the judges.
The speeches are delivered before the judge panel deliberates the verdict which is expected to be delivered on January 21, following two weeks of procedures that draw widespread public attention.
Among the 22 defendants on trial in the high-profile corruption case, 12 were charged with “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing severe consequences”. Eight others were accused of “misappropriating property”, while two executives of PVN’s subsidiary PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC) face indictments on both offences.The malfeasances in question took place during the construction of national key projects, including the US$1.6 billion Thái Bình 2 power plant and Vũng Áng – Quảng Trạch power project.
Defendant Đinh La Thăng, former PVN chairman and the highest ranking Communist Party member to be put on trial, charged with economic mismanagement, was the first up to deliver his speech.
Thăng said during 35 years of working in different positions, he had always strived to complete assigned tasks.
He had never thought that there would be one day he’d had to stand in the dock like this. He said this is an “anguish and misfortune” for him and his family.
Facing 13-14 years of imprisonment, Thăng said he still owes the people many “unfinished projects” that he had promised during his stint as the transport minister, including “the North-South expressway, the thousands of bridges for people in remote areas for safe passing.” He also expressed his regret for having not able to follow through the promise to return Hồ Chí Minh City to its former glory during the time it is known as “Pearl of the Orient” or transform Cần Giờ District into a Singapore right in Việt Nam.
Facing the strict sentence, Thăng would want to “bow and apologise” to the Communist Party, the State, Vietnamese people, and people working in the oil sector. He voiced his hope that the judging council will fairly assess each defendant’s actions and the nature of the case. He also expressed his absolute loyalty to the Party and the State and his belief in the judging council’s impartial, fair and humane settlement.
Former chairman of PVC Trịnh Xuân Thanh is charged with both economic mismanagement and misappropriating assets, for which prosecutors are seeking life sentence.
In his final speech, he said he hopes that the judging council will make “careful, just, and evidence-based consideration”. Thanh also said he wants to send his apology to Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng, who is considered the chief of the robust anti-corruption campaign that has claimed many high ranking officials and executives.
Thanh also requested to be allowed to return to Germany “to be close to and take care of his wife and children” one last time before serving his sentence.
Meanwhile, Phùng Đình Thực, former director-general of PVN, charged with economic mismanagement, said he did not knowingly committed wrongdoings but admitted oversight and that failure to perform his duties.
Other defendants have all expressed remorse, asked for leniency from the judge panel in order to redeem their life and continue to contribute to the society. — VNS