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State-owned rubber trees illegally sold by contractors

Update: June, 04/2012 - 10:00

HCM CITY — Hundreds of hectares of State-owned rubber tree have been illegally traded by subcontractors in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, causing billions of dong in losses.

Poor management from local authorities have been blamed for this massive loss of State-owned property.

In the past five years, without permission from the company, the households that were hired to take care of rubber trees owned by State-run Kon Tum Rubber Company have sold at least 250ha for a total of more than VND8.6 billion (US$410,000).

The company's general director, Le Kha Liem, said the trading of State-owned rubber trees for private benefit had become common in the province, especially in Sa Thay District.

Since 2001, the company has hired more than 680ha of provincial land in Sa Thay District to assign to local people to plant rubber.

The benefits between the company and the subcontractors are divided based on a 60-40 ratio.

The households are not allowed to trade, transfer or mortgage the rubber planting area without the company's permission.

However, illegal trading has occurred since 2007, with most of the illegal trade occurring between 2008 and 2010 at Sa Son Rubber Farm in Sa Thay.

At least 200 traders, including 130 sellers, have taken part in the activity in Sa Son, according to reports.

Many rubber gardens have been traded two to four times, with each trade bringing a profit of VND40 million ($1,900).

The illegal trading is believed to have caused losses of billions of dong as the rubber trees have not been tapped properly by traders who harvested the rubber latex three times a day, instead of once only over a three-day period as required by state regulations.

Sa Son Farm was assigned by the Kon Tum Rubber Company to collect 420 tonnes of dry rubber latex last year.

The company, which was established in 1984 with invested capital of US$33 million, has more than 10,000ha of rubber trees.

But the farm only managed to collect 190 tonnes, or just a little more than 45 per cent of the assigned task.

Some households even sold 60 to 80 per cent of the rubber latex output to private traders for higher profits.

Farm leaders said they had lost around 30 tonnes of dry rubber latex since April this year, with losses of VND60 million ($2,900) a day.

The poor management of the farm leaders was one of the main reasons for the illegal trading and subsequent losses of rubber latex. Some farm directors reportedly supported the illegal trading.

Even some local officials have also been involved in the illegal trading of the rubber tree gardens.

Sa Son's communal People's Committee deputy head, Tran Linh Tuyen, and the Party Committee deputy secretary, Bui Quoc Tuong, were among the sellers.

Local authorities have yet to take any drastic steps to properly deal with the problem.

The Kon Tum Rubber Company, which belongs to Viet Nam Industrial Rubber Corporation, has asked the provincial People's Committee to instruct relevant bodies to carry out an investigation on the illegal trading, according to Liem. — VNS

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