Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The military court of Military Zone 7 yesterday opened the trial of Đinh Ngọc Hệ, alias Út ‘trọc’, and four other defendants for alleged violations at the Thái Sơn Corporation under the Ministry of Defence.
Before being charged, Đinh Ngọc Hệ, born 1971, was Senior Lieutenant Colonel and Deputy Director General of Thái Sơn Corporation. He was charged with abusing position and power while performing official duties and using falsified documents.
Three other defendants were also charged with abusing position and power while performing official duties, namely Trần Xuân Sơn, born 1986, former director of Bình Dương branch of Thái Sơn Development and Investment Joint Stock Company – Defence Ministry (Thái Sơn JSC), Trần Văn Lâm, born 1977, former director general of Thái Sơn JSC and Bùi Văn Tiệp, born 1957, former commander of Division 367, the Air Defence-Air Force Service.
The fifth defendant is Phùng Danh Thắm, who was accused of lack of responsibility causing serious consequences. Born in 1965, Thắm was Colonel and Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Thái Sơn Corporation before being charged.
The Central Military Inspectorate accused Đinh Ngọc Hệ as the person who instructed Lâm, Tiệp and Sơn.
In July 2009, Hệ, then deputy head of Thái Sơn Corporation’s business section, discussed with the head of the planning and investment a proposal to set up a new legal entity, using capital contributed by Thái Sơn Corporation and some individuals and operating as a subsidiary of the corporation.
The new company – named the Thái Sơn Development and Investment JSC was licensed by the HCM City’s Department of Planning and Investment. The Thái Sơn Corporation held a 51 per cent stake in the Thái Sơn JSC.
In September 2011, the Thái Sơn Development and Investment JSC changed its name to Thái Sơn Development and Investment JSC – Ministry of Defence, with Hệ serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Hệ led the company from March 2013 until he was arrested.
After the Thái Sơn Corporation withdrew its 31 per cent stake, Thái Sơn JSC still did business in the name of a military company.
The indictment said during 2011-2016, Hệ used his position as representative of Thái Sơn Corporation’s stake in the Thái Sơn JSC as well as chairman and director general of the Thái Sơn JSC to make inaccurate reports on the Thái Sơn JSC’s operation, falsely claiming its functions and tasks to get contracts in key national projects.
Hệ also instructed his subordinates to get military and official number plates for the company’s cars, then used the cars as collateral or for leases in violation of regulations.
They pocketed more than VNĐ6 billion (US$266,600) from those acts. The military inspectorate stated that the illegal use of the cars with military and official number plates violated rules on public cars, affecting the prestige of the military. Regarding other accomplices, the military inspectorate said Trần Văn Lâm was made director general of the Thái Sơn JSC after its name was changed to Thái Sơn Development and Investment JSC – Ministry of Defence.
After the market watch department of Bình Dương Province detected more than 20,000 litres of sub-standard petrol at the Thái Sơn JSC, Lâm, at the instruction of Hệ, signed a document sent to Bình Dương People’s Committee on July 17, 2014, claiming that Thái Sơn JSC was a military company doing business alongside defence to ask for exemption of fines.
Later, Lâm together with Tiệp and Sơn fabricated contracts on petrol deposit and storage and other documents to claim that the sub-standard petrol belonged to Division 367, and was not for sale. Their act was said to cause losses of more than VNĐ1.4 billion to the State budget.
Meanwhile, as Director General of the Thái Sơn Corporation, Thắm showed lax management and a lack of supervision, as he failed to detect the illegal use of cars with military and official number plates by Hệ.
The indictment affirmed that although Hệ did not admit to the charges, the military inspectorate found documents and evidence collected during the investigation process constituted sufficient grounds for the charges.
Hệ was also found to have bought false university score records and degrees and used them in his Party membership dossier and for salary raise and promotion.
Also according to the indictment, the defendants asked to repair the consequences of their acts, and handed over a total of VNĐ1.28 billion to the Ministry of Defence’s criminal investigation agency. Of the money, Hệ paid back VNĐ500 million, Xuân Sơn VNĐ500 million, Tiệp VNĐ250 million, Thắm VNĐ20 million and Lâm VNĐ10 million.
The trial will last through today.— VNS