Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — All nine defendants in the notorious case of the Đà River – Hà Nội water pipe breakdown yesterday received a cumulative 14-year sentence for their wrongdoings, with three defendants receiving probation.
The defendants were charged with “violations of construction regulations, causing serious consequences” which affected peoples’ lives.
As Việt Nam News reported earlier, the Đà River – Hà Nội water supply project began operation in 2009, supplying a significant amount of water to the capital’s residents. However, from April 2, 2012 to October 10, 2016, the water pipeline broke down a total of 18 times, resulting in the temporary suspension of water supply for a total of 386 hours and 1.7 million cu.m of water, affecting 177,000 households in Hà Nội.
According to the verdict, the repeated water pipe ruptures stemmed from a series of violations, from the production of the water pipes to management and oversight during their installation. The water pipes were found to be of uneven quality as durability for long-term use of several samples failed to meet requirements.
The toughest sentence, 24 months in prison, was handed down to Hoàng Thế Trung, former director of the project management board and Trần Cao Bằng, former director of Vinaconex Fibreglass Reinforced Polyester Pipe JSC – the company supplying the water pipes.
As representatives of the investor, Trung and Nguyễn Văn Khải and Trương Trần Hiển, two other members of the project management board, were found guilty for signing 73 official acceptance agreements which certified the quality of more than 5,000 pipelines and add-ons used in the project.
Bằng and Vũ Thanh Hải, former head of the production department and deputy director of the fiberglass company, were also found guilty for signing these documents as representatives of the pipeline supply contractor.
Đỗ Đình Trì, former head of the consultant and monitoring team of the Việt Nam Water, Sanitation and Environment Company and head of the project’s monitoring team was accused of signing acceptance agreements for the water pipe and add-ons installation processes.
Khải, Hải and Trì received sentences of 20 months in prison while Hiển got 16 months.
Those receiving suspended sentences were Nguyễn Biên Hùng, Hoàng Quốc Thống, and Bùi Minh Quân, other members of the project’s monitoring team.
The verdicts were lighter than earlier requested by the Hà Nội Procuracy, which sought a sentence of 42 months in prison for Trung and Bằng.
The court cited several reasons for the charge reductions, such as the defendants’ good personal record, sincerity during the investigation and this time being their first offence.
Earlier during the 10-day trial, all the defendants claimed innocence and disagreed with the conclusion of the charge of the prosecutors.
They insisted that competent authorities had failed to figure out the exact causes of the pipeline breakdown, adding that without finding the exact causes, similar incidents could reoccur in the future. — VNS