KIÊN GIANG — The People’s Court of the Mekong Delta province of Kiên Giang yesterday sentenced 10 customs officials to between 2-6 years in prison each for the misappropriation of tax funds.
Võ Văn Toàn, former head of the Giang Thành border gate customs department, was sentenced to six years in prison, while Lâm Văn Giao, former head of the Hà Tiên international border gate customs department was sentenced to 4 years and six months.
The remaining eight customs officials from the two departments were sentenced to between 2 and 4 years in prison.
According to the court’s verdict, between 2010 and 2013, Giao and Toàn, together with the eight other customs officials, failed to perform their duties and responsibilities, letting heads of businesses operating in Giang Thành District and Hà Tiên Commune appropriate more than VNĐ110 billion (US$4.9 million) worth of tax refunds.
Earlier, heads of these businesses were sentenced to life imprisonment and their employees received between 8 and 18 years imprisonment for appropriating tax refunds by purchasing import-export receipts to appropriate tax refund money.
Heads of the businesses confessed that each batch of products got customs clearance easily via the border gates. For example, 30-40 tonnes of goods were transported via the border gate but only 30 per cent was registered products while the remainder was made up of water tanks. - VNS