Former National Assembly member Châu Thị Thu Nga was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday for swindling and illegal asset appropriation.— Photo soha.vn
HÀ NỘI — Former National Assembly member Châu Thị Thu Nga was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday for swindling and illegal asset appropriation.
Nga was former Chairwoman and General Director of the Land and Housing Construction and Investment JSC (Housing Group).
The Hà Nội Supreme People’s Court also handed down jail terms of six years, four years, 30 months and 24 months respectively to four former general directors of Housing Group: Nguyễn Trường Sơn, Lê Hồng Cương, Nguyễn Vũ Hùng and Phan Thanh Tuyên.
Other people sentenced in the case included two former directors of Housing Group’s real estate trading company, Nguyễn Thị Tình and Lưu Thị Thúy, who will be imprisoned for seven and three years respectively.
Former chief accountants of the Housing Group, Phạm Thị Thu Hạnh and Đinh Phúc Hiếu got three years and a three-year suspended sentence, respectively. Đoàn Thị Thanh Thủy, former acting chief accountant of the group, got two years in prison.
The court said Nga and her accomplices publicised false information about the B5 Cầu Diễn project, deceiving and misappropriating nearly VNĐ377 billion (over US$16.5 million) from 726 customers who paid for 752 apartments. She returned nearly VNĐ29 billion to 43 customers who received no apartment, but kept more than VNĐ348 billion, including VNĐ157 billion that she spent with no receipt or documentation.
The court found Nga guilty of masterminding the swindle and spending all the money.
It ordered the Housing Group to repay VNĐ187.5 billion and Nga to pay VNĐ54.7 billion to the victims.
The court also asked the police to continue investigating the VNĐ157 billion spent without any documentation, so as to protect the benefits of victims.
Investigators should make clear the responsibilities of some officials of the People’s Committee of Hả Nội, Từ Liêm District and Cầu Diễn Township for allowing the Housing Group to implement the project without due construction licences, the court said.
Nga established the Housing Group in 2000 as a joint stock company. She asked some people to be on the list of capital contributors, but in reality, she was the main decision-maker.
In 2008, Nga and Nguyễn Văn Tuấn, director of the Hanoi Construction Import Export and Investment Limited Company (HAIC), signed a co-operation contract to build apartments and garden villas project in the B5 Cầu Diễn area, in Bắc Từ Liêm District’s Cầu Diễn Town.
The project site was actually located on land that belonged to Hà Nội’s urban development project.
The B5 Cầu Diễn project was not officially approved or licensed to operate and call for funding. However, Nga posted false information on the project’s legal status and progress on Housing Group’s website.
From 2009 to 2013, Nga and other defendants signed 752 capital contribution contracts and collected more than VNĐ377 billion ($16.5 million) from customers with a commitment to hand over 752 apartments. No apartment was built until the scam was busted.
On the unrecorded spending, Nga said she used VNĐ54 billion as incentives for employees to accelerate the project, gave VNĐ30 billion to Nguyễn Văn Tuấn and VNĐ47 billion to deal with administrative procedures and become a National Assembly delegate. All the alleged recipients have denied her claim. — VNS