Former Vinaconex leaders may face prosecution for 18 breaches of the Đà River pipeline

Update: August, 01/2016 - 15:10
Workers fix the broken part of the Da River pipeline. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI The Supreme People’s Procuracy (SPP) is reviewing the police decision not to prosecute former leaders of Vinaconex Corporation for 18 breaches of the Đà River pipeline.

The SPP said public opinion was against such a decision of the police, and that it created a “bad precedence while working with similar cases later”.

The SPP’s division on prosecution in economic cases, informally known as Division 3, will reconsider whether the five former heads of the conglomerate should be prosecuted over their responsibility for the breaches.

The said officials are Phí Thái Bình, former chairman of the Vinaconex management board, who later became vice-chairman of the Hà Nội People’s Committee from 2006 to 2010; Nguyễn Văn Tuân, director–general; and three other members of the management board: Tô Ngọc Thanh, Hoàng Hợp Thương and Vũ Đình Chăm.

The police, in its final investigation report released on July 15, said the five officials deliberately switched the materials used to build the water pipeline to glass-fibre composites without taking proper consultations. They were also responsible for selecting subpar contractors who provided uncertified composite products that consequently led to the 18 breaches of the Đà River pipeline after it became operational in 2009.

The repair of the breaches cost Vinaconex more than VNĐ13.4 billion (US$603,000) as of September 2015, excluding the last four breaches, the police report said.

Some 177,000 Hanoian households faced shortage of clean water for 343 hours due to the breaches.

The five officials, who allegedly committed violations in construction that led to severe consequences, were to face criminal charges in accordance with Article 229 of the Penal Code.

The police, however, dismissed the case against them as they “had violated for the first time, had clean resumés and family records and had made tremendous contribution to the construction sector”. The police could not find evidence that the five persons committed violations for personal gains either, hence ruling out the prosecution decision.

The police’s decision was instantly criticised by the people and the media, who accused the justice system of being lenient towards the officials.

Vinaconex is the investor of the Đà River waterline, which was kicked off in 2004 with a total investment of VNĐ1.45 billion. VNS