|Nguyễn Đức Chung, former chairman of the Hà Nội People's Committee, in the court of appeals on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên|
HÀ NỘI — The High People’s Court of Hà Nội on Wednesday (July 13) reduced the prison sentence of the former chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Đức Chung.
Chung was convicted of intervening in the bidding of two digitisation projects at the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Investment.
According to the court of appeals' decision, Chung will serve a jail term of two years, taking into account his work and fulfilment of compensation, instead of the three years given at the original trial.
Chung submitted to the court 85 commendation certificates and medals for his good performance in the past, from the Police Department and the People's Committee of Hà Nội, to petition the court to mitigate his penalties.
Along with two previous sentences, Chung will spend a total of 12 years behind the bars from the date of arrest on August 28, 2020.
The trial panel found that Chung took advantage of his assigned position to illegally interfere in bidding activities, adversely affecting contractor selection.
The bidding package for digitising business registration data was invested by the Department of Planning and Investment.
However, during the implementation of the bidding packages, at the proposal of Bùi Quang Huy, General Director of Nhật Cường Company, Chung halted bidding, which went against regulations. This created favourable conditions for Nhật Cường to win two bidding packages in Hà Nội.
At the court of appeal, the trial panel assessed that Chung had accepted personal responsibility.
Moreover, the defendant was still suffering from a serious illness that required treatment, so the court accepted to reduce the sentence for the defendant.
During the two days of trial, Chung repeatedly appealed against and denied creating favourable conditions for Nhật Cường Company to participate in the bidding package at the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Investment.
Chung said that he only had a normal social relationship with the owner of Nhật Cường Company dating back to when he was in the police force.
Regarding the bid suspension, Chung said that the main reason was there were many mistakes in the bidding invitation documents from the Department of Planning and Investment, and the project was not appraised.
He declared that he acted according to his authority and not to clear the way as alleged, but make the project comply with the law, as well as save and effectively use the State budget.
However, by the end of the trial, Chung no longer argued that he was wronged, but instead asked the court to consider reducing the punishment.
The court of appeal also reduced the sentences of Phạm Thị Thu Hường, former Chief of the Office of the Department of Planning and Investment, to two years and 8 months instead of three years and 6 months, and Phạm Kim Tuyến, former Head of Business Registration Department (Department of Planning and Investment) to three years in prison, compared to four years and 6 months.
The Court said that the first-instance judgments pronounced against Hường and Tuyến were correct and appropriate.
However, these two defendants committed crimes under the direction of their superiors, and during the investigation and trial, they made a sincere declaration.
During the court of appeal procedures, the two defendants asked their families to fulfil their civil obligations on their behalf, to prove their remorse. The court noted that the two defendants had paid more than VNĐ3 billion (US$129,000) each to overcome the consequences. — VNS