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Highland forest management official suspended

Update: June, 29/2017 - 17:00
An area of the Bắc Biển Hồ forest in the Central Highlands’ province of Gia Lai where several pine trees have been cut down. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoài Nam
Viet Nam News

CENTRAL HIGHLANDS — The director of the Bắc Biển Hồ protection forest’s management unit in Central Highlands’ Gia Lai Province has been suspended from work for misconduct in forest land use.

The information was revealed by the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development late on Wednesday.

Nguyễn Đức is being investigated for financial misconduct and loss of 2,400ha of forest land.

On May 15, investigation results from the provincial Inspectorate showed that the unit was only managing some 6,700ha out of 9,150ha of forest land that it was assigned in 2011.

The investigation also revealed that 15 unit officials, including Nguyễn Đức, appropriated 84,000sq.m of forest land to grow coffee and peppers and build houses.

The unit received forest environmental service fees of VNĐ25 billion (US$1 million) in 2012-15 but was only able to explain its expenditure of VNĐ20 billion ($880,000). One reason why expenditure of the remaining VNĐ5 billion ($220,000) was unclear was that the unit had not input some VNĐ3.6 billion ($158,000) into its fund, according to investigators.

The unit was only able to present expenditure documents for VNĐ2.4 billion ($106,000) and was not able to explain what it spent the remaining VNĐ1.2 billion ($53,000) on.

The provincial Inspectorate considered this misconduct as evidence of corruption that Nguyễn Đức and his subordinates were held responsible for.

Meanwhile, Nguyễn Thị Kim Hương, director of the Forest Protection and Nature Preservation Division under the province’s Department of Forest Rangers, is suspected to have appropriated some VNĐ113 million ($5,000) from firefighting exercise contracts with the unit.

The case has been transferred to the province’s investigating police for further investigation. — VNS

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