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Court, police sued for wrongful ruling

Update: August, 06/2015 - 08:51
Luong Ngoc Phi, a wrongfully convicted man in a fraud case that once shocked the northern province of Thai Binh, is suing the Thai Binh People's Court and Police for a record-breaking compensation of VND64 billion (US$2.93 million). — Photo Phi Long

THAI BINH (VNS) — Luong Ngoc Phi, a wrongfully convicted man in a fraud case that once shocked the northern province of Thai Binh, is suing the Thai Binh People's Court and Police for a record-breaking compensation of VND64 billion (US$2.93 million).

During the first day of the seven-day trial to reopen his 2013 compensation case, Phi demanded compensation for 1,066 days of imprisonment; confiscated properties that were auctioned off before sentencing procedures were completed, which were later overturned; and extensive damage done to his business.

He said the new compensation figure is based on the value of his confiscated properties, investments he had to forfeit in numerous projects, penalties he had to pay to business partners for failing to honour signed contracts and bank interests he could not pay after his business came to a halt.

Bui Duy Han, deputy head of Thai Binh Police's investigation office, represented the police force at court.

Phi, then director of the Hoa Binh Agriculture and Seafood Import and Export Company, was indicted in April 1998 for committing fraudulent activities to appropriate property and avoid paying taxes.

He was sentenced on September 29 1999 to 17 years in prison. More than 280 tonnes of pearl barley, 31 tonnes of millet, 307kg of Japanese sesame seeds and a Daewoo sedan he owned were confiscated and sold.

In 2001, the Thai Binh's People Procuracy officially recognised his wrongful conviction. By the time he was released from prison, Phi had spent almost three years serving a sentence for crimes he did not commit.

The Law on Compensation took full effect on January 1, 2010 and stipulates that the Government is responsible for compensating individuals and entities in wrongfully convicted cases.

The Thai Binh City People's Court ruled on August 26, 2013 that the Provincial People's Court pay an amount of VND21 billion ($963,000) to Phi as compensation for damage to his business and VND666 million ($30,000) for damage to his mental and physical health.

Phi received the $30,000 compensation ten months after the court's judgement. However, after 12 years and six unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with the Provincial People's Court, Phi has not received a single penny in compensation for damage to his business.

"All I ever wanted was to be compensated for the wrongs that have been done to me", Phi said in front of the court, "My life, my family's lives and my business, all have been turned upside down since the sentence."

The city court said it hoped to reach a final judgment on Monday, August 10. — VNS

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